AAA warns of distractions, or 'multi-tasking'

| Thursday, January 23, 2003

Distractions are one of the major causes of vehicle collisions, posing a danger for Southern California drivers as traffic congestion rises, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The group, the largest affiliate of AAA, this week launched television commercials to educate motorists about the risks of multitasking while driving.

"Studies show that 25 percent of all collisions involve at least one driver who is not paying attention," Arline Dillman, traffic safety manager for the Auto Club, said. "In today's fast-paced society, there's a lot of pressure to perform two or three activities simultaneously. When one of those activities is driving, 'multitasking' can be a deadly combination."

Several studies under way seek to determine which types of distractions are most prevalent in vehicle collisions. Past studies and anecdotal evidence gathered by law enforcement have identified several common activities that can be dangerous.

They include eating or drinking; adjusting the stereo or another dashboard control; having an intense or emotional conversation with another passenger or on a cell phone; putting on makeup or shaving; using a cell phone; reaching for an item in another part of the vehicle; and focusing eyes on something other than the road ahead.

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