Distracted driving — Why we risk our lives behind the wheel (Forever 39 Podcast)
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Despite an ongoing distracted driving campaign in New Jersey, motorists seem more distracted than ever. The annual Traffic Safety Culture Index survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that 88 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise and getting worse.
Distracted driving tops other risky behaviors like aggressive driving at 68 percent, drivers using drugs at 55 percent, and drunk driving at 43 percent. The proportion of drivers who report talking on a cell phone while driving jumped 46 percent since 2013.
Almost half the drivers in the survey report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving and nearly 35 percent admit to sending a text or email.
What's interesting is the "do as I say not as I do" mentality of drivers. Despite their own behavior, nearly 58 percent of drivers say they believe talking on a phone while driving is a very serious threat to their personal safety. Nearly 80 percent say they believe texting while driving is a significant danger. These numbers prove that drivers know how dangerous this behavior is, but yet it certainly hasn't stop them from engaging in it.
There are some drivers though that heed the warning. Story continues below podcast player.
In a survey conducted by AAA Clubs of New Jersey of 600 Garden State motorists, 51 percent indicate they do not text or talk while driving, with 57 percent saying they take measures not to use their cell phones while driving. While this is good news, the number is on the decline. In 2016, 69 percent of New Jeseyans said they don't talk or text while behind the wheel.
Another interesting statistic from the New Jersey survey is that 94 percent of respondents say they believe other drivers are very or somewhat distracted when texting and driving. However, when asked if they feel the same way when they engage in that behavior, only 41 percent admit to feeling distracted.
The numbers are similar when asked about talking while driving.
Nearly 90 percent of those polled say they feel other drivers are distracted while talking on a cell phone behind the wheel, but only 38 percent believe they themselves are distracted when engaging in the same behavior.
In this week's Forever 39 episode, we discuss distracted driving in New Jersey — what we do to avoid it and what distracted driving behaviors scare us the most. Click on the podcast player above to join the conversation.
Jen Ursillo contributed to this story.
Also from this week's Forever 39 podcast — Love or hate thy neighbor? PLUS: What annoys you about your co-workers? Click on the podcast player above to hear the entire episode. Share your thoughts on all of them below, on Twitter, on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Annette and Megan, Forever 39
Join us for next week's podcast when we discuss getting fit in your 40s, Airbnbs vs.hotels, and hating on your friend's significant other.