Published Sunday, January 27, 2013
Do you use your cell phone while driving? If you don’t, you are clearly in a minority of drivers. If you do, you are more likely to engage in additional dangerous behaviors such as speeding, texting or sending emails, driving without a buckled seat belt or even driving while drowsy.
Those were findings from a survey for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Clearly, distracted drivers is a growing safety problem on our highways. While there are many ways to become distracted, an alarming number of distractions are because of technology -- particularly the use of the cell phone.
In the AAA survey, 69 percent of licensed drivers said they had talked on a cell phone while driving in the last month, despite the fact 89 percent believe others drivers using a cell phone are a threat to their safety.
Motorists who said they regularly use a cell phone while driving also said they engaged in other distracting habits: 65 percent said they had speeded, 44 percent said they drove drowsy, 53 percent said they sent text messages, 29 percent drove without a safety belt.
Drivers who said they never used a cell phone while driving were less likely to report other risky behaviors: 31 percent reported speeding, 14 percent reported driving drowsy, 3 percent reported sending a text or email, 16 percent drove without a safety belt.
Already, 39 states (including Georgia) have passed anti-texting laws, and the other 11 states are expected to consider such legislation this year.
“More work clearly is needed to educate motorists on the risks associated with using a cell phone while driving, especially given that most Americans believe this problem is becoming worse,” said the AAA.
We expect the safety problems associated with distracted drivers are going to put pressure on lawmakers in states across the country to get even tougher on cell phone use while driving and on enforcement of the anti-texting laws that are already in place.