AAA: Don't Drive Intexticated
Despite bans on handheld use of smartphones, the threat is growing. A new AAA distracted driving survey of California drivers shows 10 percent of adults say they always or frequently use their smartphone while driving, even though it is against the law. The study also finds adult drivers who are significantly more likely to drive ‘intexticated’ are between 25 to 39 years old and/or those who send and receive more than 50 text messages per day on their smartphones. The survey also revealed: • Nearly half (46 percent) of those who admit to driving ‘intexticated’ do so for navigation. Other popular reasons cited for using smartphones behind the wheel included searching for audio or music, believing that someone required a quick response, and feeling more productive. • Ten percent of those surveyed say they have been involved in a crash in the last five years in which they believe distraction played a role. • Drivers surveyed said they were most likely to drive while ‘intexticated’ when they were alone in the car. The survey is part of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s (AAA’s) “Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.” Initiative, which aims to make texting while driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9 people die every day from distracted driving and more than one thousand others are injured. AAA member DeeDee Gonzalez was one of them. In 2017, she was riding her motorcycle in Rancho Palos Verdes when a driver hit her head-on while he was looking at his smartphone. She was thrown from her bike, sustained multiple traumatic injuries, and could not walk for months after the crash. She will need some form of physical therapy for the rest of her life. “The legal consequences for texting and driving are not as severe as drinking and driving, which I will never understand. They’re both reckless behaviors,” said Gonzalez. “The law has not caught up with technology and I’m hopeful, maybe I’m optimistic about things getting better,” she said.