“What concerns AAA Oklahoma is that this pattern of risky behavior goes beyond cell phone use,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma. “These same cell phone-using drivers clearly understand the risk of distraction, yet they’re still likely to engage in a wide range of other dangerous driving behaviors.”
Driver use of cell phones impairs reaction times and roughly quadruples crash risk. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that more than 3,000 people are killed and nearly half a million are injured each year in crashes involving distraction.
This is likely an underestimate given the challenges associated with determining the role of distraction in crashes.
AAA Oklahoma has launched a legislative campaign to advocate for a text messaging ban in Oklahoma. Several bills outlawing texting behind the wheel have been filed for the upcoming legislative session. To date, 39 states and the District of Columbia have adopted this key traffic safety measure.
The distraction data were collected as part of the AAA Foundation’s 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally representative, probability-based survey of 3,896 U.S. residents ages 16 and older. The sample is representative of all U.S. households reachable by telephone or by regular mail.
The questionnaire was made available in English and Spanish, and respondents were able to complete it in the language of their choice. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provides additional details in the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index and as part of a report called Distracted and Risk-Prone Drivers.
A not-for-profit organization, AAA Oklahoma serves its 364,000 members across Oklahoma with emergency help on the road, auto travel assistance and a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through branch offices, a regional operations center and the Internet at AAA.com.