A new safety report revealed a disturbing trend among American drivers, with a surprising number admitting to routinely speeding, running red lights, and sending and reading text messages and emails, despite knowing the dangers associated with those behaviors.
The report, commissioned by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, was released last week. More than 2,700 drivers over the age of 16 were questioned over 30 days between late August and early October, according to the foundation.
One in 3 of those surveyed reported that a loved one had been seriously injured or killed in a traffic collision and 1 in 5 had themselves been involved in a serious crash. One in 10 had been seriously injured in a crash, the report said.
Despite personal experiences with traffic-related injuries and deaths and overwhelming support for laws against risky driving, at least a third of drivers admitted regularly engaging in at least one high-risk behavior while driving, the report said.
“It is very disappointing that we continue to see a prevailing attitude of ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ where large numbers of motorists seem to recognize the risks of certain behaviors, but do them anyway,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson.
Unsafe driving behaviors
Red light running: About 36 percent of drivers admitted running red lights, yet 55 percent said it is a very serious threat and 73 percent said it is completely unacceptable.
Speeding on residential streets: About 44 percent acknowledged regularly driving more than 10 mph over the speed limit in neighborhoods, yet 65 percent says it is completely unacceptable.
Drowsy driving: About 29 percent admitted to drowsy driving, yet 45 percent said it is a very serious threat and 81 percent said it is completely unacceptable.
Texting/emailing: About 27 percent of drivers reported typing or sending a text or email, yet 79 percent of drivers said it is a very serious threat to safety and 84 percent said it is completely unacceptable.
When it comes to specific distracted-driving behaviors:
▪ 2 in 3 drivers reported talking on their cellphones.
▪ 1 in 3 drivers reported talking on their cellphones often.
▪ 1 in 3 drivers admitted to reading a text message or email.