April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month

01 April 2019

DEARBORN, Mich., (April 1, 2019) — Your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel, but are you still distracted?

Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that potentially unsafe mental distractions can persist for as long as 27 seconds after drivers use voice-based technology to dial, change music or send a text message. At 25 mph, drivers travel the length of nearly three football fields during this time. AAA urges drivers to put down their phone and avoid distractions when behind the wheel, especially now during April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

“Most drivers believe that if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel, then they are focused on the drive,” said Adrienne Woodland, spokesperson, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “But research proves that there are hidden dangers when using a cell phone or in-vehicle technology. Mental distractions last longer than you think and can cause a dangerous crash.”

According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ study, almost half of Michigan drivers (44%) personally feel it is very dangerous for someone to talk on a hand held phone while driving. Despite this, more than half of those surveyed (58%) admitted to talking on a cell phone while driving within the past month. 

AAA is committed to helping drivers curb the urge to engage in distracting behaviors behind the wheel. Any task that requires taking your eyes or attention off-the-road and hands off-the-wheel can present a dangerous risk on the roadway. That includes changing the radio, programming navigation or even enjoying a sandwich. It’s important to put aside electronic distractions and never use text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.

The Frightening Stats

  • Between 2012-2017, nearly 20,000 people nationwide died in crashes involving a distracted driver, and these numbers are underreported.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017. While this reflects a 9 percent decrease from 2016 to 2017, there is still much work to be done. In the last six years, 9.5 percent of all fatal crashes involved a distracted driver.

As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, AAA – The Auto Club Group and the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation are partnering with The Hertz Corporation on a campaign that encourages motorists to evaluate their driving habits and take a pledge to stay focused on the road, avoid cell phone use and minimize distractions. To submit their pledge and get more details about the campaign, drivers should visit AAA.com.

“Too many drivers use their phones while behind the wheel,” said Amy Stracke, managing director of traffic safety advocacy for AAA – The Auto Club Group and executive director of the Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation. “Our hope is that by taking the pledge to drive safely, people will be more committed to staying focused on the road, knowing how easy it is for distracted driving to become a dangerous habit.”

AAA is celebrating 41 years of partnering with Hertz – offering exclusive discounts and benefits to AAA members – and has been working to educate the public on the risks of distracted driving since the 1980s.

AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among residents living in Michigan from January 28, 2019 – February 8, 2019. A total of 405 completed the survey. Results have a margin of error of ± 4.9 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Michigan.

About Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation
Established by AAA – The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACG Traffic Safety Foundation) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and public charity dedicated to producing a significant and continuous reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and deaths in the communities targeted by its efforts. The ACG Traffic Safety Foundation provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. The ACG Traffic Safety Foundation is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support the ACG Traffic Safety Foundation’s purpose. Visit www.AAA.com/foundation for more information.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.8 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 59 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.