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Children and Distracted Driving

Children are key to reducing distracted driving

Children make a difference in stopping distracted driving, according to a November 2021 survey by AAA Washington.

Washington drivers are significantly less likely to text, answer cellphones or use other distracting electronic devices while driving when children under the age of 18 are passengers, the survey of more than 1,000 Washington drivers found.

In addition, half (51%) of Washington drivers indicated that they would stop using a cellphone or other electronic devices if children asked them to quit because they felt unsafe.

The survey revealed that illegal or high-risk behavior with electronic devices dropped significanly when children were along for the ride.

For example, some 87% of the surveyed drivers indicated that they had accessed maps or GPS systems while driving. However, when asked if they engaged in the same behavior with a child under the age of 18 in the vehicle, just 30% indicated they had done so.

Some 68% indicated that they have held a phone to answer a call or read a text, but just 21% had done so with a child in the car. Both of these actions are illegal in Washington state.

Similarly, the instances of people making calls, responding to texts, browsing websites, searching or posting on social media also dropped significantly when children were passengers.

More than 1,000 Washington drivers, ages 16 and older participated in the survey, a sample size that provided a 95% confidence rate and a +/- 3.5% margin of error.

–Written by Kelly Just
–Top photo by Erickson Stock/ Alamy

–This article appears in the spring 2022 edition of AAA Washington member magazine, Journey.


AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its million plus members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.

Interested in planning your next road trip with AAA Washington? Call your travel agent directly or your nearest AAA store to get pro tips, TripTik maps, and more. Find more Pacific Northwest scenic drives and road trips.

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