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Cell Phones and Driving: Research Update. AAA Foundation. Established in 1947 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Research affiliate of AAA/CAA North American Focus. Mission. Identify traffic safety problems Foster research that seeks solutions Disseminate information and educational resources.

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Cell Phones and Driving:

Research Update


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AAA Foundation

  • Established in 1947

  • 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit

  • Research affiliate of AAA/CAA

  • North American Focus


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Mission

  • Identify traffic safety problems

  • Foster research that seeks solutions

  • Disseminate information and educational resources



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What’s the Problem?

  • As of Dec 2007, 84% of U.S. population or 255 million people were cell phone subscribers The 2.1 trillion minutes used talking reflects a 300% increase from 2000. (CTIA-The Wireless Association)

  • Approximately 11% of drivers were using hand-held or hands-free phones while driving at any given moment during the day in 2007 (NHTSA)

  • Studies looking at phone records of crash-involved drivers have reported phone use while driving increases the risk of an accident by a factor of 4.


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The Research

  • AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index

    • Nationally-representative telephone survey of U.S. adults ages 18+

    • Conducted from October 25, 2007 through January 10, 2008 by NuStats, LLC

    • Surveyed a random sample of 2,509 U.S. adults on a variety of traffic safety issues, including cell phone use while driving.

  • Opinion Research Corporation’s CARAVAN

    • Nationally-representative cost-shared omnibus telephone survey

    • Surveys conduced from September 4 through September 8, 2008 included questions from the AAA Foundation on cell phone use while driving.


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Survey Results

  • Both surveys found more than half of all drivers admitted talking on a cell phone while driving in the past 30 days, specifically:

    • 53% of drivers (TSC Index) and 61% (CARAVAN) report talking on a cell phone while driving at least occasionally

    • 16-17% (both surveys) report doing this regularly


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Younger Drivers

  • Surveys indicated that younger drivers are more likely to use a cell phone while driving the oldest age groups…

  • …but it’s not just young drivers.

    • Drivers aged 25-34 had highest rates of any cell phone use (TSCI) and of regular cell phone use while driving (both surveys)

    • Over half of drivers aged 45 to 54 reported using cell phones while driving at least occasionally (both surveys)


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Rates of Driver Cell Phone Use by Age

*Full bar = any usage Shaded portion = often or very often

**Based on data collected in the AAA Foundation’s 2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index


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Text Messaging while Driving

  • Both surveys found that a significant minority of people admit reading or sending text messages or emails (hereafter “text messages”) while driving:

    • 14% of drivers (TSC Index) and 17% (CARAVAN) report text messaging while driving at least occasionally

    • 3% (both surveys) report doing this regularly

    • Young drivers (ages 18-24) were by far the most likely to do this


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Text Messaging while Driving by Age

  • *Full bar = any usage Shaded portion = often or very often

**Based on data collected in the AAA Foundation’s 2008 Traffic Safety Culture Index


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“Do as I Say, Not as I Do”

  • TSC Index survey found that 83% of drivers felt that drivers using cell phones was a serious problem  But 46% of those same drivers later admitted to using a cell phone while driving!


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People think hands-free is safer (It isn’t)

  • 2 out of every 3 drivers* think that using a hands-free cell phone while driving is safer than using a hand-held phone...

  • …BUT virtually all studies have found that using hands-free phones while driving is no safer than using a hand-held cell phone.

*Based on data collected in the CARAVAN survey


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Too many Americans are driving around with a false sense of security that hands-free devices are somehow safer, which could be a deadly mistake.”-J. Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation President & CEO


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The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) public charity located in Washington, DC that is dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries. It is supported by donations from AAA/CAA Clubs, AAA/CAA members, and other organizations associated with AAA/CAA.


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