Not long ago, a tire blew out on our family’s utility trailer as we were traveling on I-5. Let’s just say changing the tire as traffic whizzed by just inches away was not a pleasant experience. I was quickly reminded about the danger our roadside technicians experience and the fact that not all drivers are safe drivers.

The AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index
studies driver willingness to engage in several dangerous behaviors. This year, drivers were also categorized based on their self-reported activities behind the wheel.

The results were shocking. Only four out of every 10 drivers reported good enough habits to be classified as “Safe Drivers.” “Speeding Drivers,” those who regularly drive 15 MPH over the speed limit on freeways and/or 10 MPH above the speed limit on residential streets, made up 25% of all drivers. “Distracted and Aggressive Drivers” represented 17% of the group, while “Distracted Drivers,” who avoided other aggressive behaviors, made up 15%.

Thankfully, less than 5% of drivers in our survey fell into the “Most Dangerous Driver” and “Impaired Driver” groups; but any risky behavior can have a tragic outcome. We’re working hard with legislators, media and the driving public to help prevent injury and loss of life.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. While cell phones and other mobile devices are a leading cause of distracted driving, please don’t allow anything to take your focus away from safely reaching your destination. Texting, navigating and other activities should be completed by a co-pilot or postponed until you are safely parked. Please keep in mind that hands-free technology isn’t brain-free.

Every state has a Slow Down, Move Over law requiring drivers who approach a stationary emergency vehicle with flashing lights to slow down below the speed limit and, if possible, move over at least one lane to create additional space for first responders and tow truck technicians. Greater understanding of the law is critical; a tow truck operator is struck and killed on the roadside every other week.

A growing number of AAA tow trucks are being equipped with directional signs to remind drivers to move over. We’re also investing in an alert system to notify drivers when disabled vehicles and emergency responders are on the roadside. Our Move Over for Me safety campaign underscores that roadside workers deserve to make it safely home. We appreciate your support of these important efforts.

What are your keys to safe driving? Please email me at or write to me at 600 SW Market St., Portland, OR 97201 or 7155 W. Denton St., Boise ID 83704.

Your fellow AAA member,

Tim Morgan, President and CEO