In a year when the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is reporting the sharpest increase in traffic fatalities in decades, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has released an annual report, Traffic Safety Culture Index, that found 88 percent of young millennials having engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days.
This gives 19-24-year-olds the dubious distinction of being the worst behaved drivers in the United States. The behaviors highlighted in the study, which all increase the risk of a traffic crash, include texting behind the wheel, running red-lights and speeding. These results are troubling as the NHTSA reports that U.S. traffic deaths saw their highest increase in 2015 to 35,092 fatalities in 2015, which is up more that 7% over the previous year, and is the highest increase in the past five decades.
Perhaps the most alarming about the report’s findings is that some of these young drivers believe that their bad driving behavior is acceptable. Dr. David Yang, an executive with the AAA Foundation said, “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”
The report found the following, by age group, percentage of drivers who reported engaging in speeding, red-light running and texting behind the wheel in the past 30 days:
- Drivers ages 19-24: 88.4 percent
- Drivers ages 25-39: 79.2 percent
- Drivers ages 40-59: 75.2 percent
- Drivers ages 16-18: 69.3 percent
- Drivers ages 75+: 69.1 percent
- Drivers ages 60-74: 67.3 percent
The AAA Foundation report, which has been published annually since 2008, identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety.
In an article listing the 9 most dangerous things that drivers do, Road & Track magazine listed speeding, distracted driving, and reckless driving as three of those things. With speeding being the second most common cause of traffic crashes behind drunk driving, eliminating this dangerous habit will increase road safety for all drivers. Road & Track magazine reminds us that speed limits are posted to keep drivers safe, as the faster a vehicle is traveling when it crashes into something, the more devastating the injuries and property damage.
Distracted driving has proven to be more of an impairment than drunk driving in some cases. It is not just texting behind the wheel that is dangerous, but eating, drinking, applying makeup, reaching for something in the vehicle or being distracted by something outside of the vehicle also creates a safety hazard.
Running red-lights, which falls under the category of reckless driving, puts other drivers and pedestrians in danger and carries penalties such as fines and even jail time depending on the circumstances.
Most drivers have dangerous driving habits
Lest you think that young millennials are the only villains when it comes to bad driving habits, the survey found that while those 19-24-year-olds are risky when compared to older drivers, most driver engage in accident-causing behaviors on the road. An example is red-light running. Respondents in the young millennial age range revealed that about 50% drive through red-lights, but as many as 36% of all drivers run red-lights.
Dangerous driving is negligent driving, and if you have suffered an injury in a car crash caused by a negligent driver, you are welcome to discuss your case with a trusted Oklahoma auto accident attorney from the Stipe Law Firm today.
Were you injured in a car crash caused by a dangerous or reckless driver? Stipe Law Firm is a trusted personal injury law firm that Oklahomans recommend to their neighbors and friends. To schedule a consultation with an experienced auto accident attorney, you are encouraged to contact our McAlester office at (918) 505-7741 or use our contact form. We serve clients throughout the Southeast region of Oklahoma.