New awareness campaign hoping to assist with distracted driving in Kansas

AAA Kansas is trying to help Kansans drive more safely through a new awareness campaign.

“The theme of it is Don’t Drive Intoxicated – Don’t Drive Intexticated,” said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. “Our purpose with that messaging is to sort of associate the impairment and the dangers of drunk driving with driving distracted and texting and driving.”

A AAA survey last month (March 2019) of more than 600 Kansas drivers revealed that 69 percent said they notice more drivers distracted by electronic devices now than two years ago.

“We all sort of know the dangers of drunk driving, and that’s become socially unacceptable and taboo,” said Steward. “What we’re trying to do is create that sort of awareness of distracted driving and make it no longer socially acceptable to be holding your phone and looking down and taking your eyes and your mind off the road.”

75 percent think that it’s never okay to use a smartphone for texting, emailing or social media while driving.

“We all think that we’re invincible as drivers, that we’re all great drivers,” said Steward. “I can check some emails or look at this Snapchat post while I’m driving and I’ll be all right, but it only takes a second or two to veer into another lane of traffic or run off the pavement and roll your car into a ditch.”

Distracted driving kills an average of nine people and injures 1,000 each day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.