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April 11, 2017
Be a Good Passenger -- Act Responsibly When Riding Shotgun
In recognition of Distracted Driving Awareness Month, AAA says if you’re riding shotgun, Be A Good Passenger and help minimize distractions for the driver. If you experience something unsafe, immediately speak up and offer assistance. Distractions come in all forms, and when a lifesaving opportunity surfaces, seize the moment and take proper action as this action may indeed save a life – possibly your own.

In a recent AAA Consumer Pulse survey, only about one-third (35%) of North Dakota residents said they speak up if they see the driver doing something unsafe, and only one in four (25%) offer to text or talk for the driver.

“The driver is ultimately responsible for everyone’s safety, but an engaged passenger will help the driver get everyone to their destination safely,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “Responsible ridership and safety go hand in hand.”

For the first time in nearly a decade, preliminary 2016 data estimates that more than 40,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes last year and approximately 10 percent of those were due to distracted drivers. That marks a 6 percent increase over 2015, and a 14 percent increase over 2014 – the most dramatic two-year escalation since 1964 – 53 years, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).

Here are AAA’s top five tips for Being A Good Passenger:

1. Buckle up: Be sure to immediately buckle up, once you get in the vehicle. This will avoid an unnecessary conversation as mental distractions can make it difficult for the driver. The driver needs to concentrate on the task at hand – driving.   

2. Be a good co-pilot: Essentially, help drive the car. Support the driver by being an extra set of eyes, ears and hands. Ensure other passengers act responsibly. Remind the driver to Put it Down, Don’t Text and Drive. Should an opportunity surface, offer to help.        

3. Stay awake: Although it can be tempting to doze off, keep the driver company and offer assistance when necessary. If your GPS isn’t working properly, or the driver gets lost, your ‘fully charged’ smartphone will help to safely navigate to your destination.

4. Don’t be a back-seat driver: Abstain from being negative and pointing out every little mistake. This adds to the driver’s stress level instead of easing it. Steer clear of agitating the driver. Remember, a calm driver is a safe driver.

5. Control your emotion: If you think there is emerging danger, control your impulses and reactions. Calmly let the driver know, but do not shout, grab the steering wheel or hand brake as this will only make things worse. 


Gene LaDoucer
phone: 701.893.3759
About The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey

The AAA Consumer Pulse™ Survey was conducted online among North Dakota residents from February 17, 2017 – March 1, 2017. A total of 400 residents who drive at least once a week completed the survey. Survey results have margin of error of ± 4.9 percentage points. Responses are weighted by gender and age to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the adult population (18+) in North Dakota.

About The Auto Club Group

The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America.  ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana.  ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

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