SEATTLE — AAA Washington announced findings from new research this week as Distracted Driving Awareness Month kicks off.
It's been three years since AAA launched a campaign to raise awareness around the dangers of distracted driving.
The data revealed more and more Washingtonians are choosing to put down their phones while driving and that children and passengers are the primary motivators for driving distraction-free.
GMA Research conducted the statewide survey in November of 2021, gathering data from 1,000 Washington residents, ages 16 and older. Participants were screened to be residents, age 16 and older, have a valid driver's license and drive at least 10 miles per week on average.
According to AAA, about half of all drivers surveyed said they would be most influenced against using a phone or device while behind the wheel if a child or passenger spoke up and asked them to stop, 51% and 49% respectively. The survey also showed that the mere presence of a passenger under age 18 prevents distracted driving behaviors, including legal interactions.
Distracted drivers are involved in at least a quarter of fatal crashes in Washington State, according to AAA.
The latest data from the Washington State Department of Transportation, there were 18,529 car crashes related to distracted driving and 92 of them were fatal.
To keep raising awareness of the issue, AAA launched a new video message, encouraging people to “Speak Up” during Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
“Three years ago, AAA launched a campaign bringing attention to distracted driving, showing how the consequences of texting and driving are similar to drinking and driving, deaths and serious injuries,” said Kelly Just, AAA Washington’s traffic safety program manager. “In this new research, we see our public awareness campaign is working. More and more of us are choosing to put down our phones while driving, currently 82% of Washington drivers. That’s up from 69% in AAA’s 2018 distracted driving survey.”
To view the full results of the AAA Washington distracted driving study, click here.
Washington’s Distracted Driving Law:
Enacted in the summer of 2017, the law bans drivers from holding a phone or other device in their hands. It also prohibits texting; the opening, reading, viewing, typing, saving or sending of emails, photos and other data; browsing the web; watching a video; transmitting videos or live feeds. Contacting emergency services is the one exception. While the law does allow hands-free use of cell phones, electronic devices and built-in infotainment systems, previous AAA research found these interactions just as distracting as hand-held ones.