AAA Says Districted Driving Remains A Serious Problem

Karen Borta reports.

Video Transcript

KATHY BOND: Just is something that has gotten to a point that people are almost comfortable with it, and they've got to realize this is deadly.

KAREN BORTA: And Kathy Bond knows that all too well. Tuesday would have been her daughter's birthday, but Katrina is forever 22.

KATHY BOND: Forever 22, and forever 22 is never what a parent wants to hear.

KAREN BORTA: In September, 2011, Katrina was driving home when she came to a standstill on 35W, near Waco.

KATHY BOND: He hit her without hitting the brakes at all.

KAREN BORTA: That driver, Kathy says, was texting with his father.

KATHY BOND: The person that did this to my family, they have to know, this has ruined my life.

KAREN BORTA: At that time, there weren't any distracted driving laws.

KATHY BOND: He killed somebody and yet never went to jail, never got arrested, no punishment whatsoever.

KAREN BORTA: While Katrina and so many others have been reason for change, a new AAA study found that more than half of drivers admitted to texting or emailing while driving. Those ages 25 to 34 are even more likely to do it. And a quarter of drivers say it's OK if they're alone and at a stop. That's what's being called the hangover effect.

DANIEL ARMBRUSTER: It takes our brains 27 seconds, once we put the phone down, to fully re-engage in driving.

KAREN BORTA: And that's the focus of this new public service announcement--



--based on a real crash that happened in California. A driver texting at a red light, then hitting a group of children he didn't see when the light turned green.

KATHY BOND: To me, it's very, very similar to drinking and driving. I made a choice, and I'm making a choice. This is a very-- it's not an accident. And that's exactly what AAA wants to get across.

DANIEL ARMBRUSTER: To make it socially unacceptable, just as drinking and driving. Our theme is don't drive intoxicated, don't drive in-text-icated.

KATHY BOND: You can't take that stuff back, so just don't drive distracted.

KAREN BORTA: Karen Borta, CBS 11 News.

- A strong message there. According to the most recent numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, distracted-driving crashes killed an average of nine people a day. That's up 10% from the year before. AAA says the best thing to do, put your phone out of sight as soon as you get into your car.

If you need to make a call or text, pull over. If you need navigation, program the destination before you leave. And if you're a passenger, speak up if the driver is, in fact, driving while being distracted.