What We Know About Careless Driving
According to a new study, we are a country of unsafe, careless drivers. We just don’t think we personally are the ones driving carelessly.
In June, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released the study, “2019 Traffic Safety Culture Index,” which revealed that while most people agree on what are today’s most risky driving behaviors, that doesn’t prevent many of them from doing them.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 70-year-old nonprofit organization whose goal is to help prevent catastrophic motor vehicle accidents. This year’s edition of its Traffic Safety Culture Index – an annual measure of drivers’ perceptions and practices – involved just over 2,700 licensed drivers who reported driving within the month prior to the survey.
Common Dangerous Driving Behaviors
Researchers found that the majority of drivers identified seriously dangerous behaviors, which are:
- Distracted driving
- Drowsy driving
- Aggressive driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
Well more than 90% of the drivers surveyed said that reading and typing on a hand-held cell phone are very to extremely dangerous. Almost 80% described talking on a hand-held mobile device in the same terms.
Yet, more than four out of every 10 drivers surveyed (43%) admitted they had a cell phone conversation while driving in the past 30 days. And while a fewer number of drivers said they had read or texted, it was still a significant amount – 39% and 29% respectively.
How dangerous is cell phone use while driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in April released “Distracted Driving 2018,” a summary of the most recent U.S. distracted driving statistics. The NHTSA reported that 13% of all distracted-driving fatal crashes involved the use of a cell phone behind the wheel.
The majority of people surveyed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety identified speeding as one type of dangerous aggressive driving. More than half (55%) said speeding on the highway was dangerous while 64% said the same about speeding in neighborhoods.
Nearly half of the drivers (48%) confessed to driving at least 15 mph over the highway speed limit in the previous month.
Speeding Drivers in Missouri
While speeding drivers are dangerous, the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping people at home, appears to have compounded the danger. More drivers are taking advantage of the open road by speeding.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol, citing a 58% spike in drivers speeding by more than 26 mph, joined four other neighboring states in a week-long crackdown in mid-July.
The MSHP simultaneously noted a 14% increase in fatal car crashes this year compared to 2019.
Nearly 100% of the people surveyed disapprove of drowsy driving, and 96% classified it as very or extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, almost a quarter also admitted to driving so tired “they could barely keep their eyes open” at least once in the past four weeks.
Almost 10% of those in the AAA Foundation survey said they had taken the wheel after drinking – despite 94% also saying that drinking and driving is extremely or very dangerous.
According to the most recent federal data, nearly 900 Missouri drivers were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2018, with 23% of the impaired drivers having twice the legal limit of alcohol in their blood.
So the most common dangerous driving actions are not secret. A key to reducing fatal car crashes is for more people to be responsible and stop driving in a careless and often destructive behavior.
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Authored by Gray Ritter Graham, posted in Articles July 29, 2020