TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Almost one-quarter of distraction-affected crashes involve a driver using a smart-phone.
October is distracted driving awareness month and AAA is warning about the dangers of texting and driving.
There were 213 of those incidents across Florida in 2008, resulting in 231 deaths according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
“You don’t want to drive intoxicated and AAA is warning people about the dangers of driving 'intexticated,'” said AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins. “That being while you’re texting and driving or just using your mobile phone in general. It’s a very dangerous distraction. Unfortunately, a lot of people do it. Every single year it leads to 400,000 crashes nationwide and nearly 3,000 deaths.”
Jenkins was recently the victim in a crash that was caused by a distracted driver.
“Smashed into my vehicle, totaled the vehicle,” said Jenkins. “My wife and I are both left with some lingering injuries. It’s all because this driver was looking at his GPS. He was messing with his GPS while he was driving. He said he only looked away for a couple of seconds. Really that’s all it takes, just a couple of seconds of a distraction before you end up in a serious crash.”
AAA’s Top Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving
- Prepare for your drive. Set vehicle systems like GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls, and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. And please, finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
- Disable or stow electronics. Never use text messaging, email, video games, or internet functions, including those built into the vehicle, while driving. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features.
- Stay focused. Do not let anything divert your attention. Be sure to actively scan the road, use your mirrors, and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists. If you have passengers, enlist their help as a “designated texter.” Ask them to answer your calls, respond to texts, and program the navigation.
- Take the pledge to drive distraction-free or learn more about distracted driving by clicking here
- Prohibits hand-held cell phone use for all drivers in school and/or work zones only (5 states).
- Prohibits all drivers from text messaging while driving (48 states).