There was a press conference yesterday near the Beltway in Vienna, where officials with the Virginia Department of Transportation and AAA Mid-Atlantic released some new research on distracted-driving along I-495. It was all part of a year-old awareness campaign called “Orange Cones, No Phones.” Metro board hearings precluded us from being there, but we thought we’d pass along some statistics that came out of a regional survey done by AAA and Transurban-Fluor, the group overseeing the construction of the Virginia HOT lanes.
--About 55% of Beltway drivers use their phones will they’re on the road, most of them talking or texting.
--Over the past year there’s been a 47% increase in the number of Beltway drivers reading texts while driving.
--About half of the people using their phones while driving on the Beltway say they’re trying to address work issues.
--Of that group, 57 percent say they do it because they feel they need to provide an “immediate response” to work queries.
One of the reasons they launched the initiative – and one of the reasons Flour has been involved, we imagine – is that there’s an enormous amount of construction going on along the Beltway and in the Dulles corridor right now. Some of the large corporations with offices in the area, including Booz Allen Hamilton and Inova Health, have taken an “employer safety pledge,” wherein they agree to make their employees aware of the dangers of distracted driving.