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AAA wants to cut out distractions

Auto club is asking motorists to eliminate activities that take away from driving for a week.

From putting on makeup to talking on cell phones, people are doing more than just driving when they’re behind the wheel. According to automobile club AAA, distracted driving contributes to thousands of crashes every day.

So AAA has designated the week of Oct. 5 “Heads Up Driving Week” as a way to bring awareness to the deadly consequences of not paying complete attention to the road.

“During Heads Up Driving Week, AAA will ask motorists to rethink their driving behavior. This means vowing to eliminate distractions for a week. By trying it for a week, we hope drivers will reduce their distractions longer-term,” said Catherine L. Rossi, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The auto club is using this initiative to also voice its support of a texting while driving ban in all 50 states.

Texting while driving poses obvious safety concerns because users not only takes their eyes off the road, but they also take their hands off the wheel.

“Texting is simply not an activity that can be done safely while driving,” Rossi said. “Enacting texting bans for drivers in all 50 states can halt the spread of this dangerous practice.”

Currently, 18 states and the District of Columbia, including New Jersey, have laws that address text messaging by all drivers. Two more states have laws that prohibit teens or other new drivers from texting while driving.

Laws differ across the states and some have significant shortcomings, according to AAA. Pennsylvania is not among those that have banned the practice.

State Senate Bill 143, sponsored by Sen. Robert Tomlinson, R-Bucks County, would prohibit a driver from operating a vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to send, read or write a text message while the vehicle is in motion. It does not prohibit making phone calls or dialing their phone.

Violations are a secondary offense subject to a fine of $100.

“AAA discourages motorists from engaging in any distraction while behind the wheel. Texting is the epitome of distracted driving,” said Rossi.

A poll conducted earlier this year shows 93 percent of state residents support a texting ban.

Among them is Kingston Township Police Chief James Balavage. He supports the senate bill saying “texting is much worse than talking on a cell phone while driving.”

On the web

For more information on Heads Up Driving Week, log on to: www.aaafoundation.org/multimedia/headsup.cfm

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