AAA President and CEO Calls on Oklahoma Business Leaders to Mobilize Against Texting While Driving

Jan 26, 2010, 10:35 ET from AAA

Appeal is part of AAA's national campaign to pass laws against texting while driving in all 50 states

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Business leaders should play an important role in improving traffic safety, AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet today told members of the Economic Club of Oklahoma in calling upon them to help eliminate the dangerous practice of texting while driving. Darbelnet addressed the group as part of AAA's nationwide campaign to pass laws banning texting while driving in all 50 states.

"As business and community leaders, there are steps that you can take to make our roadways safer," said Darbelnet. "Set forth policies at your company to prohibit employees from using wireless communication devices while driving. If your company has a voice in the state legislature, ask your representative to express your company's support for a statewide law against texting while behind the wheel."

Nineteen states and Washington, D.C. currently ban texting while driving for all drivers. More than 120 bills are pending in 26 states nationwide (including Oklahoma) to expand or improve these laws. AAA launched a campaign in 2009 to enact texting bans in all 50 states by 2013.

Darbelnet urged the Oklahoma business leaders to join AAA in helping reduce distracted driving by:

  • Curbing their own behavior by not texting, e-mailing or using cell phones while driving;
  • Urging their family members, friends and co-workers to do the same;
  • Banning texting and cell phone use within their own companies; and
  • Contacting their legislators to voice support for legislation that would ban texting while driving in Oklahoma when the state legislature convenes on February 1.

Darbelnet cited ample research illustrating the severely degrading effect that reading, writing and sending a text message has on driving performance. Recent surveys of the general public reveal that more than 90 percent of Americans support texting while driving bans.

"We know definitively that text messaging while driving endangers everyone on the road," said Darbelnet. "A dozen states passed these laws in 2009. If legislators hear support from communities for these bills, we should pass these laws in at least a dozen more states in 2010."

There has already been substantial interest in the issue in the Oklahoma Legislature, with a well-attended interim study conducted last October by the House Public Safety Committee. Legislators have pre-filed four bills for the 2010 session and six additional bills will carry over from 2009 to ban texting while driving for all drivers. AAA Oklahoma has voiced its support for a state law banning this risky behavior and joins AAA clubs across the country in making the issue a legislative priority.

Darbelnet addressed the group on Monday evening at the Petroleum Club in Oklahoma City. A copy of his remarks can be found at

As North America's largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 51 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

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Troy Green