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AAA: Tennessee drivers say texting while driving is their main concern for safety

Published: Apr. 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM EDT
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In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA warns drivers to put it down, don’t text and drive and avoid any activities that divert attention from the primary driving task. Any distractions could endanger a driver, passengers, or others sharing the road including bicyclists or pedestrians.

More than 102,000 traffic crashes have been caused by distracted drivers in Tennessee in just the past five years, AAA reports.

In a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, the majority of Tennessee residents (96%) stated that texting while driving was their number one concern, followed by driving when tired (87%), grooming (76%) and talking on a hand-held cell phone (64%). Click here to view the survey results.

“The number crashes identified by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security as distraction-related is staggering … and probably understated,” said Don Lindsey, Tennessee Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Tennessee’s law makers made a good decision a few years ago to outlaw texting and driving, but it’s up to us as drivers to choose to avoid all types of distractions.”

National distracted driving statistics portray a grim picture: In 2014, an estimated 3,179 people were killed (10% of all crash fatalities) and an additional 431,000 were injured (18% of all crash injuries) in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted driving, according to the most recent data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Here are AAA’s top five tips to avoid texting while driving:

1. Silence your cell phone and turn off the vibration mechanism: Airplane mode is a setting available on many mobile phones. When activated, it suspends many of the device's signal transmitting functions, thereby disabling the phone's capacity to place or receive calls or use text messaging.

2. Ask for help: Remind the people in your vehicle to be a good passenger and enlist their help. Ask your passengers to handle tasks such as texting, placing a call or re-programming your GPS.

3. Ask family, friends and colleagues to respect your commute: Set mobile boundaries and politely ask them not to contact you during the hours of your commute.

4. Place your phone in the glove compartment or trunk: The old adage, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ can be applied here. Wait until you’re at your destination or safely pull into a gas station or rest area to check messages.

5. Download a safety app: Get some technological help. Many mobile safety apps can help discourage texting while driving.

About The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey:

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among Tennessee residents from January 29, 2016 – February 9, 2016. A total of 407 residents completed the survey, with 387 who drive at least once a week. Survey results have margin of error of ± 5.0 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in Tennessee.