Survey: Teens should be wired less while driving, AAA Arizona says

Posted at 10:08 AM, Oct 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-14 13:08:19-04

It’s time for the Arizona Graduated Driver License (GDL) to graduate with honors in safety, according to a recent AAA distracted driving study.

Almost 9 in 10 Arizonans support changing the current GDL laws prohibiting teens from using a mobile device of any kind while driving during the first six months of having their unrestricted license. Current Arizona GDL laws have no such restriction, despite almost a decade of advocating for such laws by AAA.

In the same survey, Arizonans were asked to rate the perceived seriousness of six driving distractions on a 10-point scale. Sending or receiving a text message was ranked as the most serious distraction – even above driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana.

In honor of National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 16-22), AAA also asked more than 140 driving instructors reveal the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive. Distractions, including interacting with a cell home, ranked second on the list, just below speeding.

As a safety advocate, AAA offers a variety of resources for teen drivers, including:

  • teenSMART: A breakthrough driver safety program that makes teen drivers three times safer on the road. Plus, it has been so successful that AAA is now offering up to 24 percent in savings on a teen’s auto insurance for successful completion of the program.
  • Permit Prep Challenge: A free, 90-minute workshop for teens and parents that instructs on rules of the road, statistics and the graduated driver license. It is offered in various locations in Phoenix and Tucson.
  • Keys2Drive: An interactive teen driving website that provides state-specific information based on where your teen is in the process — from learning to drive, through the permit stage, to solo driving.


Arizona is one of the last four states in the nation not to have a statewide texting-while-driving ban, although statutes in cities including Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff prohibit texting while driving. AAA will continue to lobby for stronger GDL and overall traffic safety laws once the Arizona legislature reconvenes in 2017.

AAA Arizona’s Distracted Driving Study was conducted earlier this summer by Behavior Research Center Inc. and is based on 700 interviews statewide. The survey has a margin of error at the 95 percent confidence interval of plus or minus 3.5 percent.