Even though it's against the law, many of us give in to temptation and pick up our cell phones while behind the wheel (a recent AAA survey found that nearly 50% of drivers admit to reading a text or email and 35% admit to typing a text or email, in the past 30 days). Sure, the urgency of a call or email is definitely a concern. Need driving directions, stat? Seems valid. And hey, we all get social media FOMO now and then.
Let's pump the brakes on our smartphones overruling our instinct to be safe on the road. Your friends at AAA think it's time to tap into the skills of your passengers. Enlist one of your friends to be a "designated texter," and hand over control of your technology to these nimble-fingered, emoji-savvy riders. They can handle phone calls, answer texts, respond to emails, program the GPS, load podcasts, and even scour social media for the latest like or mention. Simply think of them as your very own technology assistant. This way, you can keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel and your mind focused on your one job--driving.
You already use a designated driver or rideshare service to keep everyone safe when you go out on the town (there's even an app that'll find a driver to take you home safely in your vehicle!). In the past 30 years, designated drivers have saved thousands of lives. It makes sense to tackle the impairment of technology similarly, especially when 10 people die every day in distracted driving crashes across the country.
Of course, a designated texter isn't always an option. For the times you drive without a passenger, AAA offers these tips to help you drive distraction-free:
- Turn off your phone and other electronic gadgets.
- Never use text messaging, email functions, video games, or the internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle.
- Use a feature or app that can tell others you're unavailable because you're driving-one that also prevents your phone from ringing, dinging, or beeping with notifications.
- Create a pre-drive routine where you program your GPS, load podcasts, and select music before heading out.
- Don't call or text someone who you know is driving.
In addition to being dangerous, distracted driving violates Washington's distracted driving law and can be costly. The price for a first E-DUI ticket is $136. The second ticket within five years doubles your fine, and information from these cell phone infractions will be forwarded to your insurance company.
AAA is working to prevent distracted driving-the safety of drivers has been and always will be a priority. To learn more about how AAA is educating the public on driver safety, visit www.aaa.com/distracteddrivingwa.