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Survey: Distracted driving continues to be problem

Posted at 11:22 AM, Mar 29, 2018

A new survey found that the majority of drivers say distracted driving is a growing problem.

According to the new survey conducted by the nonprofit AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 9 out of 10 drivers surveyed said that distracted driving (88 percent) is on the rise, ranking the action higher than other risky road behaviors such as aggressive driving (68 percent), drugged driving (55 percent) or drunk driving (43 percent).

Drivers taking the AAA survey said the problem of distracted driving has increased over the past three years, with nearly 50 percent reporting that they regularly see drivers emailing or texting while driving.

The number of drivers who self-reported using a cellphone behind the wheel has jumped 30 percent since 2013, according to Foundation research. Nearly half (49 percent) of drivers reported talking on a handheld phone while driving, and nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email. 

Despite their behavior, nearly 58 percent of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger.

According to the Nevada DMV, texting, accessing the internet and hand-held cellphone use has been against the law since Oct. 1, 2011, according to the Nevada DMV.

The fines in Nevada are $50 for the first offense in seven years, $100 for the second and $250 for the third and subsequent offenses. Fines can be doubled if the offense occurs in a work zone. The first offense is not treated as a moving violation. 

According to Nevada DMV, the exceptions include: 

  • Any person reporting a medical emergency, a safety hazard or criminal activity.
  • Drivers using a voice-operated navigation system affixed to the vehicle or those riding in autonomous vehicles.
  • Drivers using citizen band or other two-way radios that have a separate, hand-held microphone and require a license.
  • Law enforcement officers, firefighters or emergency medical personnel acting within the scope of their employment.
  • Utility workers responding to an outage or emergency and using devices provided by the company.
  • Amateur radio operators providing communications services during an emergency or disaster

While there were fewer instances of distracted driving reported in the latest federal statistics, distracted driving remains one of the most underreported traffic safety issues, according to AAA.

The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,613 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online.