Drivers readily identify dangerous behaviors that lead to serious accidents, yet a significant portion admit to doing them.
Fatal car crashes in this country have increased. In September the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a report on fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2020, the most recent year with final data (“2020 Summary of Motor Vehicle Crashes”). The report notes that 2020 deaths in car and truck crashes climbed nearly 7% compared to 2019.
It also notes a significant year-to-year increase in the number of deaths involving speeding drivers and drivers under the influence. The number of people killed in speed-related crashes jumped 17% in 2020 compared to 2019. Those killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2020 spiked 14% compared to the year prior.
A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals that a sizeable number of drivers acknowledge behaviors like these are reckless but nonetheless admit to doing them.
For several years the foundation has surveyed U.S. drivers on dangerous driving and issued the findings in a report called the Traffic Safety Culture Index. The 2021 Traffic Safety Culture Index, built upon an online survey of 2,700 drivers, was released in December. Participants had driven at least once in the 30 days prior to taking the survey.
The results centered on four specific dangerous driving behaviors that can cause serious accidents:
· Impaired driving
· Aggressive driving
· Drowsy driving
Texting and Driving
More than 90% of the drivers responded that driving and cell phone use – texting or reading – was extremely dangerous. Even more acknowledged that someone important to them would not approve of them driving distracted by cell phone use.
Yet 26% of the surveyed drivers said they had sent a text or email while behind the wheel. More than a third (36%) reported that had read a text or an email while driving.
Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
The vast majority of those surveyed (94%) said driving after drinking to the point of legal intoxication is dangerous. In Missouri the legal threshold for driving drunk is a blood alcohol content of .08% or higher. Seven percent of drivers admitted to driving drunk within the last month.
Significantly fewer of those surveyed – 65% – considered driving within an hour of consuming marijuana to be dangerous. In 2023, recreational use of marijuana will be legal in Missouri.
Drivers Who Speed and are Aggressive
Speeding is a known cause of serious crashes. Half of the drivers surveyed said driving at least 15 mph above the posted speed limit is dangerous. About that same number said they had driven that fast on the freeway within the last 30 days.
Nearly one out of five of the respondents said they had driven when very tired, despite 95% of the survey group recognizing that drowsy driving is dangerous.
As long as drivers act irresponsibly, even while knowing the risk to others on the road, serious crashes likely will continue to increase. Careless drivers who cause fatal accidents must be held accountable.
If you were seriously hurt or you lost a family member in a crash caused by another driver, turn to an experienced car accident lawyer to bring to account all those responsible.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray Ritter Graham. Posted in Blog January 13, 2023