PSA from the United Kingdom have brought the dangers of distracted driving, and texting while driving in particular, into the public spotlight. However, AAA Foundation research shows that approximately 1 in 5 U.S. drivers admit to texting while driving at least once in the last 30 days. Multiple surveys of the general public and AAA’s membership show that 80 to 90 percent of Americans support texting bans. AAA is advocating for laws that make it illegal for drivers of all ages to send, write, or read a text message or e-mail while their vehicle is in motion.
AAA study shows in-vehicle texting by drivers drops following ban
The AAA legislative push to enact texting while driving bans is supported by new research released today by the Auto Club of Southern California showing that the texting while driving ban implemented in California in January 2009 appears to be reducing texting by drivers. Prior to the California texting while driving ban, researchers observed 1.4 percent of drivers at any point in time in Orange County, Calif. were texting while driving. Following the law taking effect, just 0.4 percent of drivers were observed texting—a decline of about 70 percent overall. This indicates that banning texting while driving can potentially change driving behavior of motorists, reduce dangerous distracted driving, and improve safety. “We are pleased to see that the frequency of texting while driving dropped after the texting ban went into effect in California,” said Darbelnet. “We hope that this new data will help influence lawmakers in other states to take action and pass similar legislation banning texting while driving.” The popularity of texting has grown quickly over the past four years. According to the wireless industry trade association, CTIA, the number of monthly texting messages reached 110 billion at the end of 2008, a more than 11-fold increase in three years. Studies have shown texting while driving to be an extremely dangerous distraction for drivers due to the extended time drivers spend not looking at the road.