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AAA “Pumps” Up Distracted Driving Messaging

AAA KansasJuly 20, 2019

During this summer of record-breaking road travel, AAA Kansas is ‘pumping’ up its ‘Don’t drive intexticated’ distracted driving campaign by targeting motorists where they are most likely to see it – at gas stations.

“Where better to remind drivers to put down their phones than when they are sort of a captive audience while they are filling up their gas tanks?” asks Shawn Steward, spokesperson for AAA Kansas. “Distracted driving is such a widespread, dangerous and potentially deadly behavior that AAA must be innovative in its efforts to raise awareness and effect change”.

Responding to a recent AAA survey, almost 70% of Kansas drivers say they notice more drivers distracted by electronic devices than just two years ago.

AAA’s “Don’t drive intoxicated, Don’t drive intexticated” campaign, first introduced here in Kansas in April, effectively compares texting and driving with drinking and driving – as both are dangerous behaviors that too often result in injury or death. The new gas station signage is part of AAA Kansas’ multi-year effort to reverse this disturbing trend.

The ‘pumped up’ messaging at select gas stations in Topeka and Wichita is located directly on the pump handle as well as atop the pumps themselves (pictured).

Jacque Tierce of Larned, Kan., whose 22-year-old daughter, Danielle, died from injuries suffered in a May 2018 crash in which she rear-ended a truck while messaging on Snapchat, applauds AAA Kansas’ efforts to highlight the dangers and potentially deadly consequences of distracted driving.

“The more reminders we have in as many places possible, the better the chances are that another family will not experience the pain that our family has experienced in the loss of Danielle, who was a mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter, and friend,” Tierce said. Tierce is also an outspoken advocate against distracted driving, engaging with the public through speaking presentations and her “DoItForDanielle” Facebook page.

“We want our ‘Don’t drive intexticated’ campaign and these gas station signs to remind drivers that using a phone while driving can have the same consequences as drinking and driving,” AAA Kansas’ Steward says. “AAA is committed to making distracted driving as socially unacceptable as drunk driving”.

Distracted Driving Statistics

  • 9 people each day are killed in the U.S. and 1,000 are injured in crashes where distracted driving occurred, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

According to the AAA Foundation’s recently released Traffic Safety Culture Index*:

  • Nearly 97% of motorists believe mobile device use while driving is an extremely or very dangerous behavior, about the same number that view driving while intoxicated to be extremely or very dangerous.
  • And yet, more than 40% of the same respondents admit they had read texts or emails on their phone at least once in the past 30 days.
  • And more than 30% admit they had typed on their devices while driving

AAA Foundation research has also identified distracted driving as one of the top contributors to teen-driver related fatal crashes during the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ – the period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when these crashes typically spike because there are more teen drivers behind the wheel.

Kansas Statistics

In a recent AAA survey of Kansas drivers:

  • Almost 70% says they notice more drivers distracted by electronics than two years ago
  • 91% said they are “concerned” or “very concerned” about their safety on the road due to other drivers being distracted by electronic devices.
  • And yet, 45% admit to looking at their phones to read or send a text when behind the wheel

AAA’s Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving:

  • Put it away. Place your mobile device out of sight to prevent temptation.
  • Know where you’re going. If using a navigation system, program the destination before driving.
  • Pull over. If you have to call or text while on the road, pull off the road safely and stop first.
  • Ask passengers for help. If riding with someone, seek their help to navigate, make a call or send a message.
  • Be a good passenger. Speak out if the driver of your vehicle is distracted.
  • Don’t be a distraction.  Avoid calling or texting others when you know they are driving.
  • Everyone should prevent being intexticated. Just as drivers need to pay attention, so do pedestrians and bicyclists. Never call, text or play games while walking or cycling

The public is invited to take the ‘Don’t drive intexticated’ pledge. Visit www.aaa.com/dontdrivedistracted to join this lifesaving effort.

Copyright © Rocking M Media, 2019. All Rights Reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced without Rocking M Media’s express consent.

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