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Study: Distracted Driving, Apathy to Blame for Risky Roads

A new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that distracted driving is a greater issue than many initially thought. To the foundation’s president, the distraction issue is just a symptom of a culture of indifference, which is making roads everywhere in America less safe.

In 2014, 33,000 people died in car crashes across the country. Early estimates of what the full 2015 numbers will look like show that may have been a nine percent increase from one year to the next.

According to AAA, at least 87 percent of drivers who participated in the study carried out by AAA claim they have engaged in a dangerous behavior such as speeding or texting in the past 30 days. At least 1 in every 3 drivers, however, admit to doing so regularly.

To researchers and AAA insiders, the results are shocking, especially because many safety advocates hoped that many drivers had given up on the activity over the past years.

When it comes to talking over the phone while driving, at least 70 percent say that they have engaged in the activity within the past 30 days while 31 percent say they do so fairly regularly.
While the number of people who have engaged in the activity is high, disapproval is also high. Yet AAA reports that over 68 percent of respondents believe that others don’t have an issue with the activity. Among respondents, 63 percent are OK with the use of hands-free technology while 30 percent say they are OK with handheld cell phone use.

Two in every 3 drivers, or 70 percent of respondents say they support restricting the use of handheld devices while behind the wheel. Less than half of respondents believe that a full ban would fix the issue.

Over 87 percent of respondents claim they support laws that restrict reading, typing, or sending a text message or email while the driver is operating a vehicle while 42 percent admit that they have read a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days. At least 12 percent of the respondents say they take part in this particular activity pretty regularly. Nearly 1 in every 3 drivers say they have typed or sent a text or email in the past month and eight percent of all drivers say they type out messages while driving regularly.

While most of the AAA respondents claim they believe that emailing or texting while driving is a serious, risky behavior, at least 14 percent say they do not perceive social disapproval from others.

A staggering 80 percent of all respondents say they believe that distracted driving is a much greater risk now than three years ago.

For more details on the AAA study and how drivers feel when it comes to distracted driving activities, follow this link.

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