Data shows that people are not altering their behavior even when it has resulted in a crash. - Photo: AAA.

Data shows that people are not altering their behavior even when it has resulted in a crash.

Photo: AAA.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest research finds drivers who have been in at least one crash in the past two years are significantly more likely to engage in risky behaviors like speeding or texting.

After three months of stay-at-home mandates, AAA urges drivers to keep everyone safe on the roads and warns motorists against falling back into dangerous driving habits.

“The frequency of drivers in the United States engaging in improper behavior is too high. While drivers acknowledge that certain activities behind the wheel – like texting, are dangerous, some do them anyway,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “We need to be aware of the serious consequences of engaging in these types of dangerous driving behavior and change course.”

The Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI), which highlights the gap between drivers’ attitudes and their reported behaviors, found that drivers perceive distracted, aggressive and impaired driving as dangerous. Yet many of them admit to engaging in at least one of these exact behaviors in the 30 days before the survey. The numbers were even higher for those involved in a recent crash:   

  • 50% of those involved in a recent crash admit to talking on a hand-held device while driving in the past month versus 42% not involved in a crash
  • 43% of those involved in a recent crash admit to texting while driving in the past month versus 27% not involved in a crash
  • 39% of those involved in a recent crash admit to running a red light in the past month vs. 30% not involved in a crash

This data shows that people are not altering their behavior even when it has resulted in a crash.

Of all dangerous driving tasks, drivers dubbed these two extremely or very dangerous:

  • Driving when so tired, it was hard to keep your eyes open (96%)
  • Driving while typing or sending a text message or an email (96%)

Yet these same drivers text when behind the wheel, even believing there is a risk of getting caught by police for reading (43.7%) or typing (42.7%) a text message.  

The annual TSCI identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The AAA Foundation issued its first TSCI in 2008, and the latest report is online: AAAFoundation.org

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