“What we have seen year after year is this ‘do as I say not as I do’ behavior,” said Cindy Antrican, the AAA public affairs manager, in a statement along with the new data. “A sense that ‘I can text but you can’t,’ which is extremely troubling.”
The AAA data found that, while motorists engage in distracted driving, they also are well aware of the risks. About 58 percent of drivers surveyed said talking on a cell phone behind the wheel is “a very serious threat” to their safety, while 78 percent said texting is a significant danger, the data show.
The survey data are from a sample of 2,613 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days.
The results of suspected distracted driving can be deadly, officials said. This week, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies are attempting to determine if a crash on Diamond Mill Road at Snake Road in Trotwood was due to the weather or distracted driving. The crash trapped a woman in her car after she lost control of her vehicle and slammed into a telephone poll. She survived, but deputies are investigating the cause.
“(A) cell phone was out of the car and on the ground,” said Chief Deputy Rob Streck.
Neighbor Tracy Canada said she believes the issue is getting worse.
“People pull out in front of each other around here,” Canada said. “People just ain’t paying attention these days.”
The AAA Foundation said its data shows drivers talking on a cell phone are up to four times as likely to crash, while those who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash.
The foundation said that while federal estimates of distracted driving crashes have dropped two percent, the federal number is “likely erroneous” because of the difficulty of detecting distracted driving once the crash has occurred.
Antrican advises drivers to get situated before driving, pre-programming GPSs and other devices. Once behind the wheel, she said, stop texting, emailing, and other distracting activities. And, she said, avoid messy foods while driving, as spills can distract.
Texting while driving became illegal in Ohio in 2013, becoming a primary enforcement matter for drivers younger than 18. Efforts to change the law have not yet reached the governor's desk.
Read more from the Dayton Daily News:
» Ohio lawmaker seeks change: In some cases 'it's legal to rape your spouse'
» Stormy Daniels performing at Centerville’s Diamonds Cabaret this summer
» Ohio lawmaker stands by gun-carrying students comment despite critics
BY THE NUMBERS:
88 Percent of drivers who believe distracted driving is on the rise
78 Percent of drivers who said texting while driving is a significant danger
35 Percent of drivers who reported recently sending a text or email while driving
2,613 licensed drivers ages 16 and older in the AAA survey who reported driving in the past 30 days