study by the AAA Foundation and researchers at the University of
North Carolina that video-tracked 70 drivers found only 30 percent
of the subjects used a cell phone while their vehicle was moving,
but 97 percent leaned over to reach for something and 91 percent
fiddled with radio controls.
drivers had cameras placed in their cars for a week, and researchers
randomly selected three hours to view their behavior. The first
three hours of each tape were eliminated in the hope that drivers
would act more naturally later in the week.
were distracted 16.1 percent of the time their vehicles were moving;
77 percent of drivers had conversations while driving, the study
may not realize how distracted they are," said Peter Kissinger,
president of AAA's Foundation for Traffic Safety. "Talking
to a passenger seems quite safe, but even something that simple
takes away from the road."
suggested states start including a section dedicated to the problem
of distracted driving in driver education manuals. Manuals produced
by six states -- Arkansas, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia
and Wisconsin -- now have such sections.
states warn that radio dials can be a distraction, while 19 warn
against cell phone use while driving, AAA said. Thirty-one states
have enacted or are considering laws to ban or restrict the use
of cell phones while driving.