The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released its annual Traffic Safety Culture report and, again, Driver distraction is one of the major areas of concern. Two key points from the report are shown below:

“Do as I Say, Not as I Do”

Distracted driving remains a concern among the American public in 2013, with 88% of survey respondents saying distracted drivers are a bigger problem today compared to three years ago. Additionally, the threat perceived from distracted driving also remains high, with 89% of licensed drivers saying drivers talking on cell phones pose a threat to their personal safety. When asked about motorists who text or email, or who check social media, drivers report feeling an even bigger danger, with 96% saying these behaviors constituted a threat.

However, the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude identified in previous years persists in 2013, with perceived threats and social disapproval not fully translating to on-the-road behavioral choices. A percentage nearly identical (67.3%) to the proportion of drivers who disapprove of hand-held cell phone use admits to talking on the phone (of any kind) while driving in the past 30 days. Moreover, over a quarter say this happened fairly often or regularly.

For texting and emailing, more than a third of licensed drivers admit to reading messages in the past 30 days, and a quarter typed or sent them.

Perception of “Hands Free” as “Risk Free”

The 2013 survey responses indicate that the general public continues to believe that hands-free technologies are safer than their hand-held counterparts; is more likely to find their use acceptable compared with the use of hand-held devices; and is less supportive of countermeasures that restrict their use by drivers than of efforts to limit hand-held devices behind the wheel.

This general public perception has been matched by a proliferation of increasingly-sophisticated speech-based infotainment and communications systems in new  vehicles – many of which are marketed as safe by virtue of being hands-free – as well as a lack of legislative or regulatory action against driver use of  hands-free technologies. However, as we have reported previously, a study by the AAA Foundation and the University of Utah and other studies, challenged the public perception, and concluded that “hands-free” doesn’t mean “risk-free” due to the effects of cognitive distraction.

To view the whole report, see here.

At Blank-it, we know that driver distraction should be a primary area of concern for all drivers and employers, one that has to be addressed through policy, education and the use of technology-based solutions.

Blank-it has been designed specifically to address the problem of driver distraction caused by in-vehicle computers and laptops. It is easily installed, doesn’t rely on 3rd party input such as GPS, is fully customisable for different working environments and will help businesses conform to distracted driving legislation and OH&S requirements.