New Research Shows When Kids and Passengers Speak Up, Drivers Put Down Their Phones
Editor’s Note: “Speak Up” PSA for download & free use on your platforms, Cited survey data
Today, AAA Washington announces findings from new research that show more and more Washingtonians are choosing to put down their phones while driving. The same survey reveals children and passengers as the primary motivators for driving distraction-free. Distracted drivers are involved in at least a quarter of fatal crashes in Washington State. To keep raising awareness of the issue, AAA launches a new message, encouraging people to “Speak Up” during Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April.
Three years ago, AAA launched a campaign bringing attention to distracted driving, showing how the consequences of texting and driving are similar to drinking and driving — deaths and serious injuries,” said Kelly Just, AAA Washington’s traffic safety program manager. “In this new research, we see our public awareness campaign is working! More and more of us are choosing to put down our phones while driving – currently 82 percent of Washington drivers. That’s up from 69 percent in AAA’s 2018 distracted driving survey.
Children + Passengers Help Prevent Distracted Driving
Perhaps the most interesting finding from the research is the vital role both kids and passengers play in preventing distracted driving. Roughly, half of all drivers surveyed said they would be most influenced against using a phone/device behind the wheel if a child or passenger spoke up and asked them to stop, 51 percent and 49 percent respectively. The survey also showed that the mere presence of a passenger under age 18 prevents distracted driving behaviors, including legal interactions.
About AAA’s “Speak Up” Public Service Campaign
AAA’s new “Speak Up” public service announcement (PSA) leans into that research, showing what can happen when a passenger voices concern about distracted driving. The PSA is part of a wider “Don’t drive intoxicated. Don’t drive intexticated.” campaign, launched in November 2018. The new “Speak Up” video is available on AAA.com/distracteddriving.
We want to encourage Washington drivers to be safe from all distractions behind the wheel,” said Just. “Reaching into the glove box, grabbing something from your bag in the passenger seat, snacking while driving, turning around to check the back seat – these seemingly mundane behaviors distract your eyes and mind from the road. Lives can change in a matter of seconds.
About AAA’s 2021 Washington Distracted Driving Survey
Conducted in November 2021 on behalf of AAA Washington, GMA Research surveyed 1,000 Washington residents screened to be age 16 and older, have a valid driver license and drive at least 10 miles/week on average. With a sample size of 1,000, the digital survey — taken on smart phones, tablets, and laptop and desktop computers— carries a 95% confidence rate; margin of error is +/- 3.2%.