Screen shot courtesy of the Ad Council.

Screen shot courtesy of the Ad Council.

With motor vehicle deaths on the rise, the National Safety Council has identified some of the leading driver behaviors and beliefs — including those about texting while driving — that put all roadway users at risk.

The National Safety Council relied on surveys conducted over the past 12 months to pinpoint common habits and opinions that help fuel high-risk driving behavior. The survey results highlight the importance of raising public safety awareness, particularly during Distracted Driving Awareness Month, according to NSC.

“Most Americans recognize risky drivers on the roadways, but they are not adopting safer behaviors themselves,” said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. “The notion that bad things happen to other people, but will not happen to us when we are distracted behind the wheel, is akin to playing Russian roulette.”

The survey results include the following:

  • 47% of drivers believe it’s safe to send a text either manually or via voice-recognition systems.
  • 45% say they feel pressure from employers to check email while driving; however, 44% say they have crashed in the last three years while they were either commuting or traveling for business.
  • 35% of teens — a cohort that has seen an increase in fatal crashes — would use social media behind the wheel.
  • 17% of teens feel their own distraction may have contributed to a crash.
  • 71% believe they can have up to three drinks before they are not safe or too impaired to drive.
  • 33% believe it’s acceptable to drive with less than four hours of sleep. In fact, drivers who are tired can be as impaired as drivers who are legally drunk.
  • 32% say new cars can essentially drive themselves.
  • 13% have driven after using marijuana in the last month.
  • Two-thirds of drivers have felt unsafe because of another driver's distraction, but just 25% feel their own distractions have put themselves or others at risk.

The National Safety Council observes each April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month.