NJ drivers say texting while driving distracting, but do it anyway
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 risking 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 43 percent since 2013.
"What we continue to see is this do as I say not as I do attitude because drivers continuously think that they themselves can multi-task while behind the wheel of a vehicle," AAA Mid-Atlantic spokeswoman Tracy Noble says.
Almost half the drivers in the survey report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving and nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email. Noble says despite their own behavior, nearly 60 percent of drivers say talking on a phone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety while 78 percent believe texting is a significant danger.
One of the most surprising statistics in the survey, says Noble, is that a near unanimous number of New Jersey respondents (94 percent) said they believe other drivers are very or somewhat distracted when texting and driving. But she adds that only 41 percent admit to feeling distracted themselves while texting and driving.
Noble says one of the most interesting findings from the survey, which is conducted every two years, is that 51 percent of people say they do not text and drive. That is a significant drop off from the 69 percent who said they do not do it in 2016. Noble says this number is concerning because we know the danger associated with texting and driving, yet we are seeing an increase in the population of those who are doing it.
"The facts are facts. When people take their eyes off the road hey are endangering not only themselves but all the motorists around them," says Noble.
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