Only six states’ driver’s license manuals contain specific sections on distracted driving, according to a new survey released by AAA.
To help educate new drivers about potentially deadly distractions, AAA is encouraging states to include a model section on distracted driving in their driver’s license manuals and educational curricula.
The survey comes in conjunction with a new observational research study released in August by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that shows all motorists engage in potentially dangerous distracting activity while driving. It is estimated that distracted driving accounts for 25 to 50 percent of all motor vehicle crashes.
“It is essential to provide comprehensive information on distracted driving to all new drivers before they receive their license,” said Robert L. Darbelnet, president and CEO of AAA. “Working with the states to improve the manuals and educational curricula is key to helping reduce crashes and save lives amongst this vulnerable driving population.”
Although some states include partial information on potential distracting activities, just six states (Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia and Wisconsin) dedicate a specific section to distracted driving.
The AAA proposed model section provides a comprehensive discussion for new drivers on the types and causes of driver distractions; how to deal with the most common distractions; and how to manage both emotional and technological distractions while driving. AAA drew from driver’s manuals from several states to compose this model section. In addition, the auto club used information from its own “Stay Focused Keep Your Mind on the Road” distracted driving public service campaign and the Foundation’s Distracted Driving Phase I and II research studies.
“This effort takes the best information that is out there in the states’ curricula, combines it with AAA’s materials and shares it with the nation’s new motorists,” said Colonel Jim Champagne, vice chair for the Governors Highway Safety Association which represents state highway safety offices.
“We support this model language developed by AAA and urge states to include it or something similar in driver’s manuals.”
To assist current drivers, AAA unveiled new nationwide radio and television public service announcements on distracted driving.
“If government, industry and the traffic safety community can join together to educate the public about this high risk behavior, we can make significant progress fighting the very real problem of distracted driving on our roadways,” said AAA’s Darbelnet. “And the more effectively we do this, the more lives we will save.”
Billing itself as North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA says it provides its 46 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services.
Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA says it has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.