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Do What I Say Not What I do is Common for American Drivers

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 driving activities.
  • 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.

Risky 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 month.
  • 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.”

Public 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 widespread.

According to a recent AAA study American drivers do not practice what they preach when it comes to dangerous driving behaviors.