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Survey: Pa. Motorists Believe They Are Safe Drivers

November 24, 2010

HARRISBURG, PA - More than 3,800 Pennsylvania drivers responded to PennDOT's Highway Safety Survey earlier this year, offering answers that showed most motorists believe they are safe drivers. But the survey also found that many motorists underestimate the risk of being ticketed for driving under the influence. 

"We appreciate the insight that motorists were able to provide through this survey," said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler. "We're pleased that most of their answers reflect safe driving behaviors, but we want to make sure that all drivers are making smart choices each time they get behind the wheel." 

Nearly 80 percent of motorists reported that within the past 60 days they did not drive within two hours after drinking alcohol. Ninety-one percent of drivers also indicated they used a seat belt all or most of the time. 

More than half of respondents said they rarely thought someone would be arrested or cited for impaired driving for not wearing a seat belt. 

However, the perceived risk of a ticket increased when related to speeding, as 55 percent of drivers thought they would be cited most or half of the time. Despite the perceived risk, nearly half of respondents admitted to speeding, with 44 percent saying they drive faster than 70 miles per hour in a 65-mph zone most or half of the time. 

On driving while distracted -- one of the leading highway safety concerns -- 81 percent indicated that they never or rarely talk on a handheld phone. Ninety-two percent said they do not text or e-mail while driving. 

Seventy-seven percent of the 500 motorcycle riders who responded said they wore helmets or other protective gear always or most of the time. Ninety-two percent said they never drink and ride, while 72 percent said they never or rarely travel more than 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration requires states to conduct this survey annually. Survey respondents were 55 percent male and 45 percent female. 

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