31 March 2017


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TAMPA, Fla. (March 31, 2017) – In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA says if you’re riding shotgun, Be A Good Passenger and help minimize distractions for the driver. If you experience something unsafe, immediately speak up and offer assistance. Distractions come in all forms, and when a lifesaving opportunity surfaces, seize the moment and take proper action as this action may indeed save a life – possibly your own.

In a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey, nearly half (44%) of Florida residents stated that they do speak up if they see the driver doing something unsafe, but only 1 in 4 (27%) offer to text or talk for the driver. Click here to view the survey results.

“The driver is ultimately responsible for everyone’s safety, but an engaged passenger will help the driver get everyone to their destination safely,” said Amy Stracke, Managing Director, Traffic Safety Advocacy for AAA – The Auto Club Group and Executive Director of the ACG Traffic Safety Foundation. “Responsible ridership and safety go hand in hand.”

For the first time in nearly a decade, preliminary 2016 data estimates that a little over 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year and approximately 10% of those were due to distracted drivers. That marks a 6% increase over 2015, and a 14% increase over 2014 – the most dramatic two-year escalation since 1964 – 53 years, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).

Here are AAA’s top five tips for Being A Good Passenger:

1. Buckle up: Be sure to immediately buckle up, once you get in the vehicle. This will avoid an unnecessary conversation as mental distractions can make it difficult for the driver. The driver needs to concentrate on the task at hand – driving.   

2. Be a good co-pilot: Essentially, help drive the car. Support the driver by being an extra set of eyes, ears and hands. Ensure other passengers act responsibly. Remind the driver to Put it Down, Don’t Text and Drive. Should an opportunity surface, offer to help.        

3. Stay awake: Although it can be tempting to doze off, keep the driver company and offer assistance when necessary. If your GPS isn’t working properly, or the driver gets lost, your ‘fully charged’ smartphone will help to safely navigate to your destination.

4. Don’t be a back-seat driver: Abstain from being negative and pointing out every little mistake. This adds to the driver’s stress level instead of easing it. Steer clear of agitating the driver. Remember, a calm driver is a safe driver.

5. Control your emotion: If you think there is emerging danger, control your impulses and reactions. Calmly let the driver know, but do not shout, grab the steering wheel or hand brake as this will only make things worse. 

About The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey
The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among Florida residents from February 17, 2017 – March 1, 2017. A total of 401 residents completed the survey, with 375 who drive at least once a week.  Survey results have 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 Florida.

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 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 57 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. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

About Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation

Established by AAA – The Auto Club Group in 2010, Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Foundation, Inc. (ACGTSF) 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. ACGTSF provides programs, education and outreach to increase public awareness about the importance of traffic safety and improve driving behavior. ACGTSF is funded by voluntary, tax-deductible contributions from organizations and individuals who support ACGTSF’s purpose.