Resolve to Adopt Better Driving Habits in 2013

AAA Insurance offers six safe driving resolutions for the New Year

Phoenix. Jan. 2, 2013. Before finalizing resolutions for 2013, AAA Insurance wants all motorists to add one more to their list: break bad habits behind the wheel.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that more than 32,000 people died in car crashes in the United States in 2011, which equates to an average of 89 lives lost each day on roadways. While this figure is about 2 percent lower than the almost 33,000 people who died in crashes in 2010, car crashes remain one of the leading causes of death in the United States.

“As an advocate for the safety of all road users, AAA is challenging motorists to make safe driving a personal goal in 2013,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance for AAA Arizona. “Defensive drivers who follow the rules of the road are less likely to become involved in a collision, receive citations, and ultimately help make the roads safer for everyone.”

A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms that Americans desire a greater level of safety than they now experience on our roads. That’s why AAA Insurance is challenging motorists to make the following six safe driving resolutions for 2013:

1.     Use proper child restraints. In 2012, Arizona adopted a comprehensive child passenger safety law that requires children up to age 8 or shorter than 4 feet, 9 inches tall to ride in a child restraint system. The use of such devices has been proven to significantly reduce a child’s injury or fatality risk in a collision, but three out of four seats are installed incorrectly, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. AAA has certified car seat technicians in Phoenix and Tucson who perform free car seat checks for members.

2.     Keep it slow. According to NHTSA, speeding consistently ranks as a factor in one in three fatal crashes, claiming the lives of more than 10,000 in 2010. Drivers who speed burn fuel more quickly, have less reaction time to act and are more likely to receive traffic citations. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, each 5 mph a motorist drives over 60 mph is like paying 21 cents more per gallon for gas.

3.     Ditch distractions. In 2010, more than 3,000 people were killed in crashes and about 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Though Phoenix and Tucson have bans on texting while driving, the rest of Arizona does not. AAA considers texting while driving to be the most dangerous distraction on the road. In fact, motorists who text and drive are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash or a near-miss than those who don’t, per a Virginia Tech Transportation Institute study.

4.     Never drink and drive or drive drowsy. While alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities declined by 2.5 percent in 2011, more than 10,000 people still die in drunk-driving crashes each year, according to NHTSA. AAA challenges motorists to pledge to drive alcohol free, and to have a safe transportation alternative in place when drinking is involved.

5.     Buckle up. The National Occupant Protection Use Survey has reported that seat belt use this year has reached 86 percent, up from 84 percent in 2011. NHTSA reports that seatbelts save more than 13,000 lives each year. In order to be effective, this life-saving tool must be used every time a person drives or rides in a motor vehicle.

6.     Continue to learn and improve driving skills. Taking advantage of free or low-cost resources can help keep driving skills sharp, and help you qualify for insurance discounts.

Motorists of all ages who receive a traffic citation may be able to participate in AAA’s online ticket dismissal course, I Drive Safely. Seniors can register for AAA’s Mature Driver Course, a low-cost course that can qualify attendees for an insurance discount.

Families with new teen drivers can attend Permit Prep 101, a free 90-minute workshop that gives an overview of the Arizona Driver’s License Manual. KeysToDrive is an interactive teen driving website, and teenSMART is a driver safety program that makes teen drivers three times safer on the road. AAA offers up 24 percent in savings on your teen’s auto insurance for the successful completion of the program.

AAA Insurance is an advocate for the safety and security of the motoring public. For more information, call 1-866-298-1232 or visit AAA.com/insurance.                                              

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.