AAA urges drivers to put down their phone and avoid distractions when behind the wheel, especially during April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Distracted driving crash dataNearly 20,000 people died in crashes involving a distracted driver, from 2012-2017.

There were 3,166 people killed in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2017.

In Florida, there were more than 49,000 distracted driving-related crashes in 2017, resulting in 214 deaths.

Common driver distractionsPhone calls or texting

Speech-to-text or virtual assistants

Programming or referencing GPS

Adjusting music or controls

Eating and drinking

Talking to passengers

Handling children or pets

Applying makeup

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety ResearchDrivers who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash. Five seconds is the average time your eyes are off the road while texting. At 55 mph, that is equivalent to driving the entire length of a football field, blind. Drivers talking on a cellphone are up to four times as likely to be in a crash. Although hands-free, voice-based technology still causes distractions. Drivers can be mentally distracted for as long as 27 seconds after using voice-based technology to dial, change music or send a text message. At 25 mph, drivers travel the length of nearly three football fields during this time. Read more about how in-vehicle technology can cause distractions.

Despite the risk, drivers increasingly report using their phones while behind the wheel. Nearly half (49 percent) of drivers report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving. Nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email.

This behavior is in contradiction to the fact that nearly 58 percent of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger. Teen drivers face a troubling combination of both distraction and inexperience. It takes about five years of experience before teens reach the skill level of most drivers. According to NHTSA, six out of 10 teen crashes involve driver distraction. In 2017, 297 people died in crashes involving distracted teen drivers. Visit for key tips for parents.

AAA Tips for avoiding distractionsDon’t text and drive.

Know where you’re going.

Secure items.

Snack smart. Avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.

As part of National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April, AAA–The Auto Club Group is partnering with The Hertz Corp. on a campaign that encourages motorists to evaluate their driving habits. People who visit and take the pledge to drive distraction-free will receive a discount on their next Hertz car rental.


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