AAA LAUCHES CAMPAIGN TO BAN TEXTING WHILE DRIVING NATIONWIDE

Automobile Club Also Introduces Inaugural "Heads Up Driving Week"

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT:
Michele J. Mount
973-245-4859 [w]
973-668-3596 [c]
mmount@njac.aaa.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J., September 25, 2009 - AAA today announced a campaign to ban texting while driving in all 50 states by 2013. While New Jersey is ahead of the curve-one of 18 states and the District of Columbia to have enacted texting while driving bans-there are still 32 states that either don't have a law or need more stringent legislation.

An element of this campaign is the "Heads Up Driving Week" initiative, which encourages motorists to drive distraction-free from October 5 - 11, 2009. The goal of the initiative is to get motorists to "try it for a week, do it for life" and permanently reduce distractions behind the wheel.

"We want to save lives by making our roads safer," said Michele Mount, director of public affairs for AAA New Jersey. "New Jersey may be a front-runner legislatively, but our roads still aren't free from this irresponsible distraction. We need to draw attention to this problem and stop the spread of this dangerous practice among motorists nationwide." 

The AAA legislative push to enact texting while driving bans is supported by new research released today by the Auto Club of Southern California. The state's texting ban-enacted in January 2009-appears to be reducing texting by drivers. Prior to the ban, researchers in Orange County observed 1.4 percent of drivers texting while driving. Since the law was enacted, just 0.4 percent of drivers were observed texting-a 70 percent decline. This is a clear indicator that banning texting while driving can potentially change motorists' driving behavior and improve safety.

The popularity of texting has grown significantly in the past four years. According to the wireless industry trade association CTIA, the number of monthly text messages reached 110 billion at the end of 2008-a more than 11-fold increase in three years. Studies have shown that texting while driving distracts motorists from their main task-keeping their eyes on the road.

AAA New Jersey, together with the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, encourages all drivers to pledge their participation in "Heads Up Driving Week." 

"By participating, drivers will rethink their behaviors behind the wheel, vow to eliminate distractions and concentrate on driving," added Mount.


To sign the pledge, learn the facts about distracted driving and view tips on how to minimize distractions, visit AAAFoundation.org.

AAA New Jersey, headquartered in Florham Park, provides automotive, travel, insurance, financial and educational services to resident of Essex, Morris and Union Counties. Visit AAA online at AAA.com.