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Mar/Apr 2014 Issue

Adults text, use phones more often than teenagers behind the wheel

High school-aged teens report using their phones or texting while driving substantially less often than adults do, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

While the public often cites teens as being the most common offenders, a recent survey found that adult drivers ages 25-39 were the most likely to admit engaging in these risky behaviors behind the wheel. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety collected the data as part of the 2013 Traffic Safety Culture Index from a sample of 2,325 licensed drivers, ages 16 and older, who reported driving in the past 30 days.

“It’s noteworthy that the young novice drivers are using their phones while driving less than older drivers since, given their inexperience, they are especially susceptible to distracted driving crashes,” said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “At the same time, it is discouraging that cell phone usage picks up when drivers gain more experience, as using a phone can lead to dangerous distractions behind the wheel.”

Two out of three drivers reported using a cell while driving within the past month. Forty-three percent of adults ages 25-39 reported doing so fairly often or regularly while driving, compared to only 20 percent of teens. Motorists age 60 and up were the least likely to report using a phone.

“Using your phone while driving may seem safe, but it roughly quadruples your risk of being in a crash according to previous research,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research.

More than one in four motorists reported sending a text or email while driving within the past month. Adults ages 25-39 reported texting and driving most frequently, while those age 60 and up reported doing it the least.

The study also found that 88 percent of motorists believe distracted driving is a bigger problem now than it was three years ago. About 89 percent believe that other drivers talking on a cell phone while driving is a serious threat to their personal safety, while nearly all (96 percent) believe that others texting or emailing behind the wheel is a serious threat.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every 10 fatal crashes involves distraction, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths per year, although experts agree the numbers are likely underestimated.

“Anything that takes your hands, eyes, or your attention away from the road can be deadly,” said Mike Right, vice president of AAA Public Affairs, adding that hands-free phones offer no significant safety benefits over handheld phones.

One out of every 10 fatal crashes involves distraction, including cell phone use, resulting in 3,000 deaths per year.


AAA deters car theft with VIN etching

As a theft deterrent, AAA will offer window etching of your vehicle’s VIN (vehicle identification number) at several offices this spring.

Many law enforcement agencies believe that etching a vehicle identification number (VIN) on an auto’s windshield and window glass deters thieves because they have difficulty selling a car with VIN etching and will usually pass them up in favor of un-etched cars.

The cost for the service is $30 for AAA members and $40 for non-members, including six etchings per car. Some insurance companies, including AAA, offer discounts off their premium for VIN Etching.

Please make appointments at least 48 hours before the dates listed by calling (800) 222-7623 ext. 6821. Have your VIN number handy when calling to make your appointment.

View dates and locations



Recycle your old batteries

To help protect the environment and to prevent health and safety hazards, AAA is once again offering the annual Great Battery Roundup® campaign this spring.

Held this year from April 21–25 in commemoration of Earth Day, the campaign seeks the public’s help in corralling the millions of used, lead-acid batteries that are sitting in garages, basements, and storage sheds. Lead-acid batteries can be dangerous to children and pets and can pollute soil and groundwater. However, the lead, plastic, and sulfuric acid that make up these batteries can be recycled into new batteries.

During this week, the public is encouraged to bring any old car, truck, boat, and motorcycle batteries to participating AAA Approved Auto Repair (AAR) facilities for proper recycling.

For details and AAR facility information, visit, or call AAA at (800) 222-7623, ext. 6821.


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