The AAA Foundation’s annual survey is based on self-reported driving behaviors and examines...

The AAA Foundation’s annual survey is based on self-reported driving behaviors and examines issues such as distracted driving, aggressive driving, speeding, driving while impaired, and drowsy driving.

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In 2020, some 45% of people reported driving 15 MPH over the speed limit as compared with nearly 49% in 2018, and just 37% said they drive while holding or talking on a cell phone — a significant decrease from the 52% who admitted to that distracted driving behavior in 2018.

The data comes from the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI) and is based on self-reported driving behaviors. Overall, the findings indicate some improvement in risky driving behaviors from 2018 to 2020, and perhaps less tolerance for unsafe driving.

When it comes to distracted driving, more respondents view reading (94.9%) or typing (95.5%) a text/email on a hand-held cell phone while driving as extremely or very dangerous, compared with holding and talking on a hand-held cell phone (79.7%). However, only 20% perceive using technology that allows hands-free use of their phones, such as Bluetooth or CarPlay, while driving to be extremely or very dangerous.

The survey also explores aggressive driving. Some 52% of respondents indicate that speeding on a freeway is extremely or very dangerous. Moreover, roughly 85% of respondents perceive driving through a red light as extremely or very dangerous — yet 25% admitted to doing to in the past 30 days.

Noteworthy, about 60% of respondents felt that the police would catch a driver for traveling 15 MPH over the speed limit on a freeway, even so, 45.2% reported having done so in the last month.

Drowsy and impaired driving are two more areas of concern that the survey covered.

Approximately 95% of respondents identify drowsy driving as very or extremely dangerous. Yet, despite high rates of respondents’ perceived danger and social disapproval regarding drowsy driving, 17.3% of them admit to having driven while being so tired that they had had a hard time keeping their eyes open at least once in the past 30 days.

When it comes to impaired driving respondents gave a mixed message. They seem to understand the dangers, yet shy away from laws that could help combat the problem.

Most drivers (94.5%) perceive driving after drinking as very or extremely dangerous, but 6% admitted to having done so in the past month. Nearly 70% of respondents consider driving within an hour after using marijuana to be very or extremely dangerous, while 93.7% socially disapprove of doing so.

Even so, in 2020, just 77% of respondents support laws making it illegal to drive with a certain amount of marijuana. This proportion significantly decreased compared with 2019 (84%) and 2018 (82%).

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