An automotive group says the majority of motorists feel less safe because of distracted drivers.
Eighty-eight percent of American drivers surveyed by Triple A believe texting or e-mailing while driving is a very serious threat to their safety on the roadways, that’s higher than the threat of drunken driving.
Fifty-two percent of drivers feel less safe on the roads now than they did five years ago. “That’s significant because in every aspect of driving except for driver distraction we’re seeing gains in that cars are more safe, people are wearing their seatbelt more, there’s less fatalities out there on the roadway but yet drivers still feel really threatened due to distracted driving.”
Beth Mosher with Triple A says among the many driver distractions are texting, sending emails, talking on and dialing cell phones, eating, and even dogs sitting on a driver’s lap. She says people, teens in particular, really need to pay attention. For the first time ever, drunken driving is no longer perceived to be the biggest threat. “Distracted driving and texting while driving is perceived to be a more serious threat to motorists than drunk driving, which is very very telling because for a long long time on a list of traffic safety no-nos drunken driving was always the first and now this is perceived to be a bigger threat.”
Mosher says, unfortunately, this new data confirms the “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude is prevalent among drivers. While many drivers know someone who’s been injured or killed by a distracted driver and the study shows the majority of drivers (62 percent) feel that talking on a cell phone is a very serious threat to safety, those same people do not always behave accordingly.
The survey shows that nearly 70 percent of participants admitted to talking on their phones while driving and 24 percent said they read or sent text messages or emails while behind the wheel in the previous month.
Mosher says better laws and steeper fines are steps in the right direction, but distracted driving is hard to enforce.
Information taken from the third annual 2010 Traffic Safety Culture Index released Monday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.