SEATTLE — One year has passed since the state's distracted driving law banned the use of all handheld cellphones behind the wheel and new research from AAA shows that despite the law, people continue to drive distracted. AAA Washington's Jennifer Cook joined New Day Northwest to explain the research and AAA's newest anti-distracted driving campaign.
AAA surveyed more than 1100 Washington drivers about their driving habits. The research found 98% of drivers believe distractions like talking or texting on the phone while driving can cause a crash, but only 31% of drivers say they NEVER use their devices while driving.
Of the drivers that still talk or text on the phone while driving, teenagers were less likely to be on their phone than parents with children living at home.
"[Parents] understand the consequences of the law, but there's too much of a pull, 'What is that ding? What is that ring? Is it my kids?"' said Cook.
With this knowledge, AAA's campaign speaks directly to parents, caregivers, and any other adult who drives with children in their vehicles by comparing texting and driving to drinking and driving.
"If you were to see somebody with a beer in their hand. you would be completely appalled," said Cook, "So, drawing on that social unacceptability, we want to make texting and driving just as unacceptable as drinking and driving."
That sentiment is the inspiration behind AAA's campaign message, "Don't Drive Intoxicated, Don't Drive Intexticated." In Washington state alone, 30 percent of all fatal crashes now involve a distracted driver.
AAA's campaign encourages drivers to take a pledge to drive distraction-free. Instead of signing your own name, sign the name or names of loved ones whom you are taking this pledge for. Saaahare on social media using the hashtag #DontDriveIntexticated.
You can find more tips on our 'Intexticated' tip card at your nearest AAA store or go to aaa.com/distracteddriving.