According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic
Safety, American drivers are becoming increasingly concerned about unsafe
driving habits they see on the road but often engage in the very same behaviors
they find dangerous in other drivers. The AAA report, the Traffic Safety Culture Index surveyed 3,900 drivers nationwide to come up
with the results.
Distracted driving is drawing attention with
67 percent of the respondents saying that it is a “much bigger problem today”
then it was three years ago. This made it the number one traffic safety concern
among the respondents. It beat out aggressive drivers and traffic congestion to
take the top spot.
While almost all respondents rated texting
and emailing while driving as at least a “somewhat serious threat,” 25 percent
admitted to texting or emailing while behind the wheel during the last month.
According to the survey, there is a “culture of indifference” causing a
disconnect between what drivers perceive as a dangerous practice and the
behaviors that they actually exhibit while driving. The survey found other
disconnects in behaviors from speeding to drunk driving.
The latest survey results mirror numerous
other studies that related to distracted driving. The majority of these studies
looked at teen drivers. Here are just a few of the findings from other studies:
- The majority of young drivers consider
themselves very safe drivers but still engage in a variety of distracted
- Almost 50 percent of teen drivers admitted to
texting while driving, despite saying that it was a dangerous behavior.
- Teens believe their distracted driving
behaviors are justified because their parents exhibited the same behaviors.
Driving Behaviors are Broad
The AAA report also highlighted specific
distraction related findings. It found that the use of a cell phone while
driving was highly correlated with the likelihood they engaged in other
dangerous driving habits. According to the study, drivers who reported that
they fairly often, or frequently used their phone will driving in the past
month also did the following:
- 44 percent drove while drowsy
- 65 percent admitted to speeding in the past
- 53 percent sent a text or email.
- 29 percent drove without a seatbelt.
According to experts, these findings point to
the fact that problems related to traffic safety cannot be traced back to a
“specific risky habit.” Instead it is drivers who are showing an “overall
pattern of behaving recklessly or hazardously behind the wheel.”
is Supportive of Hands-Free Calls
Over 50 percent of licensed motorists who
have a speech based phone system in their car claim that it doesn’t distract
them when they are driving. A whopping 75 percent of surveyed drivers feel that
hands-free devices are much safer than a hand held phone.
More respondents said they would support laws
which mandated hands free calling when compared to those who said they would
support a law that restricted all cell phone used when driving. While there is
no actual scientific research that backs up this belief, it appears to be
According to a recent AAA study American
drivers do not practice what they preach when it comes to dangerous driving