SAN ANTONIO – April is National Distracted Driving Month, and AAA Texas is reminding motorists that driving distracted can be as dangerous as driving drunk.
“The most important thing you need to do when you’re behind the wheel is focus on that task of driving, because really texting and driving is a true triple threat,” said Joshua Zuber, spokesperson for AAA Texas. “It takes your eyes off of the road, your hands off of the wheel, and, of course, your mind off of the important task of driving.”
Bexar County has lead the state in both crashes and fatalities due to distracting driver, according to the Texas Department of Transportation. Statewide, 378 people died in such crashes in 2019, the last year complete statistics are available.
Zuber cited research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety researchers found drivers can experience a “hangover effect” where the mind stays distracted for up to 27 seconds after using smart phones or even voice to text systems in vehicles.
That effect even applies if drivers use their phones while stopped at a light.
But a survey by AAA found that a quarter of drivers felt it was ok to use their phones while alone with no passengers and stopped. Half of drivers admitted the text or email while alone in the vehicle, with an even higher percentage in the 25 to 34 age range.
The “Don’t Drive Intoxicated, Don’t Drive Intexticated” campaign aims to warn drivers and encourage better habits including:
- Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
- Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
- Pull over. If you must call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
- Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
- Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
- Don’t be a distraction. Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
- Activate Do Not Disturb. Setting up this feature on iPhone or Android device will prevent calls from coming in while you’re driving.
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