Distracted, not drunk, drugged or aggressive drivers are the biggest cause of concern for motorists, according to a survey conducted by AAA.
According to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety this week, distracted driving has reached the top of the list of growing dangers on local roadways, surpassing aggressive or impaired drivers.
The study states that 88 percent of drivers contend that distracted driving is on the rise, a 30 percent increase in just five years. The release of the report comes as several local law enforcement agencies announce their intentions to ramp up distracted driving enforcement details in April, which has been designated as “Distracted Driving Awareness Month.”
In the study, 49 percent of those surveyed reported that they’ve talked on cellphones while driving, and 35 percent admitted that they’ve sent a text or email, “even though most believe it’s wrong to do while driving.” The survey also found that “nine out of 10 drivers nationwide reflect a ‘do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do’ attitude” in regards to cellphone use while driving.
According to police officials, the latest “statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6 percent from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation's roadways last year, and distracted driving is a major contributor.” One in every four accidents in the nation are caused by texting and driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It is estimated that nearly 700,000 people use a cellphone while driving in America each day. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, a crash is four times as likely if a driver is distracted, whether it’s on a hands-free device or not.
"Distracted driving is a real problem," Stratford Police Capt. Frank Eannotti said. "During this enforcement period, officers will be ticketing anyone who is texting or on their phone while behind the wheel. The bottom line is if you text and drive, you will pay."
“Nobody likes getting a ticket, but the safety of our residents, pedestrians, and other drivers is top priority. Cell phones and other electronic devices contribute to driver distraction and inattention,” Yonkers police officials stated. “Pay attention to the road and other drivers, not your phone. That text message is not more important than your life or anyone else's, it can wait.”
To keep motorists safe, AAA released a handful of tips to help avoid distracted driving:
- Put aside electronic distractions and refrain from using text messaging, email, video games or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
- Pre-program your GPS; adjust seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before driving.
- Properly secure children and pets; and store loose possessions and other items that could roll around in the car.
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