Driving Intexticated

Meredith Terpstra

Origin of Don’t Drive Intoxicated

November of 1964 marked the first anti-drinking and driving commercial to be aired on television. In an era where it was common to down “one for the road” right before driving, the first drinking and driving message showed events following an office Christmas party and sported the tag line “Don’t ask a man to drink and drive.” Unfortunately, the anti drinking and driving message didn’t strongly resonate with the general public until the 1983 “Friends don’t let friends drive drunk” campaign was introduced.

The Culture Has Shifted

Since then, there have been thousands of drunk driving prevention movements, advertisements, campaigns and commercials that educate the public about the dangers of driving while intoxicated. Now, more than 68 percent of Americans report that they have tried to prevent someone from driving after drinking. With the countless ways the information has been presented, from the original “Don’t ask a man to drink and drive” to shocking statistics and car crash footage, Americans are well acquainted with the danger and have worked to shift the culture.

Intoxicated vs. Intexticated

What many Americans don’t understand is just how similar the dangers of using a phone and driving are to the dangers of drinking and driving. Despite the U.S. House of Representatives voting to designate April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month all the way back in 2010, distracted driving is still being dubbed the “Epidemic Hitting America’s Roadways.” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2015 crashes involving distracted drivers account for:

  • 3,477 deaths
  • 391,000 people injured
  • 10% of all fatal crashes
  • 15% of all injury crashes
  • 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes

These statistics only cover the 2015 data that has been released. After 53 years of learning its bad to drive intoxicated and shifting the culture as a society, it is time to do the same with the distracted driving epidemic.

Did you know?

Nine percent of all drivers age 15 to 19 involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted at the time of the crash? This age group accounts for 14% of all distracted drivers using cell phones and has the largest portion of drivers (based on age group) who were distracted at the time of a fatal crash.

Similarly, drivers in their 20s make up 24% of drivers in fatal crashes but represent 27 % of all distracted drivers, and account for 33% of all distracted drivers who were using cell phones in fatal crashes in 2015.

Drivers ages 30 – 39 and 40 – 49 make up the 3rd and 4th highest percentages of distracted drivers respectively.

Daily Distracted Driving Stats

  • 9 people are killed in a motor vehicle crash each day on average
  • 1,000 people sustain injuries from distracted driving incidents
  • Taking your eyes off the road for just TWO seconds DOUBLES your chance of being involved in a crash
  • FIVE seconds of reading an email at 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded

You wouldn’t drink and drive, so why do you text and drive?

The data shows that every age group is at fault when it comes to distracted driving. Everyone has the opportunity to make a difference on the road by driving without distractions and in the lives of family, friends, and peers through education. You wouldn’t drink and drive, so why do you text and drive? Put the phone down. Lives depend on it.

Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated.

To help spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving, take the pledge to put down your phone while driving. Visit AAA.com/DontDriveDistracted.


Data and statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.