“Do as I say, not as I do” remains the guiding principle of many American drivers, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Researchers surveyed more than 2,600 drivers ages 16 and older about their driving behaviors and attitudes. Results show that although a vast majority of respondents agree certain driving behaviors are dangerous to themselves and others, many do them anyway.
Among the findings:
- Nearly 97% of respondents consider texting or emailing while driving a serious hazard. However, 45% reported that, in the month leading up to the survey, they had read a text message or email while driving, and 35% had sent a text message or email.
- 88% said talking on cellphones while behind the wheel is dangerous, yet nearly 61% of drivers had talked on a hands-free cellphone and 49% talked on a handheld cellphone.
- 88% said drowsy driving is a “serious” or “somewhat serious” threat to their safety and 95% said it is an unacceptable behavior, yet 31% admitted to driving when they were so tired they had difficulty keeping their eyes open.
- 94% believe driving after drinking alcohol is a serious threat to their personal safety, yet 13.5% reported driving at least once in the past year when they believed their alcohol levels might have been close to – or possibly over – the legal limit.
According to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 10,497 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities occurred in 2016, up from 10,320 in 2015. In addition, the number of fatalities in speeding-related crashes in 2016 (10,111) rose 4% from 2015. Distraction-related crash fatalities decreased to 3,450 in 2016 from 3,477 in 2015.
Results of the survey were published in the foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, released in March.