Distracted driving tops drivers’ list of growing dangers on the road, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The annual Traffic Safety Culture Index from the AAA Foundation is designed to identify attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The index shows that 88% of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise, posing a greater threat than other risky behaviors like aggressive driving, drivers using drugs and drunk driving.
The proportion of drivers who report talking on a cell phone regularly or fairly often when behind the wheel jumped 46% since 2013. Nearly half of drivers report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving and nearly 35% have sent a text or email. Despite their behavior, nearly 58% of drivers say talking on a cell phone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78% believe that texting is a significant danger. A recent study from the AAA Foundation shows drivers talking on a cell phone are up to four times as likely to crash while those who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash.
Drivers in the AAA survey believe the problem of distracted driving has increased over the past three years, with nearly 50% reporting that they regularly see drivers emailing or texting while driving. Conversely, federal estimates show the number of distracted driving crashes has actually dropped by 2%, though this could be due to the fact that it is difficult to detect distraction following a crash, making distracted driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.
According to government estimates, distraction plays a factor in just 14% of all crashes. However, past AAA Foundation research looking into teen drivers in-vehicle dashcam videos to determine that distraction was a factor in 58% of crashes, 44% more than federal estimates.
Source: AAA NewsRoom