The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been sponsoring research since 2006 intended to better understand the culture of traffic safety. These efforts are important because auto accidents remain a top cause of death in America. AAA has released its most recent survey on cultural attitudes towards traffic safety and on how those attitudes impact people’s behavior. The study is called the 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index.
Our Alabama auto accident attorneys know the findings are somewhat surprising because they reveal that many drivers routinely engage in behaviors behind the wheel that they are fully aware present a danger. Unfortunately, when drivers do risky things, they put themselves in harm’s way and also up the chances of innocent victims becoming involved in a car wreck.
Drivers Knowingly Do Dangerous Things
AAA looked at some of the most dangerous driving behaviors that are contributing factors to auto accidents. The data revealed that:
- 14 percent of drivers may have driven drunk at least once in their lives, or at least driven when they felt like they were over the limit. 2.1 percent said they may have driven drunk in the month before answering AAA’s survey questions. Yet, almost every single driver who answered the survey said drinking and driving was a serious threat and culturally stigmatized.
- More than 66 percent of drivers had spoken to someone on a cell phone at least one time while driving in the month before answering the survey. However, almost all drivers viewed this as dangerous with 66.5 percent supporting restrictions on cell use and 48.6 percent expressing their approval of a complete cell-phone ban even if a hands-free device was employed.
- 26.6 percent of drivers had, in the month before being surveyed, typed an email or typed or read a text message while driving. Yet, almost every single surveyed driver indicated this was a serious threat and most supported laws restricting or banning the behavior.
- Speeding was viewed as worse in a residential neighborhood than on a highway. 89.1 percent reported a feeling that society disapproved of going 15 MPH over limit on a highway and 72.5 percent perceived disapproval of going 10 MPH over limit in a residential community. Yet 49.3 percent sped on a highway and 46.8 percent sped through a residential neighborhood in the month before answering AAA’s questions.
- 38.4 percent of drivers disregarded a red light even though a safe stop was possible and drove through the light instead. Yet, almost all agreed this was such a serious threat that the behavior was unacceptable.
- Around 33 percent of drivers admitted to driving as they struggled not to fall asleep at some point in the month before answering AAA’s survey. 45.9 percent said that at least one time over the course of their life, they had fallen asleep driving. Yet, the majority of drivers also viewed drowsy driving as a serious threat.
Unfortunately, the AAA study shows that drivers know that these driving behaviors are dangerous and bad behaviors that boost the chance of a crash but that this knowledge does not have a substantive effect on changing behavior. Until every driver stops doing things he or she knows are risky, auto accidents are tragically likely to continue being a top cause of U.S. deaths.
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact the Mike Slocumb Law Firm at 1-800-HURTLINE.