Public Affairs Specialist, OH
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CINCINNATI, Oh. (June 11, 2020) — After three months of staying at home, AAA warns motorists against falling back into dangerous driving habits. As economies reopen and more drivers get back on the road, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows why motorists may not be as focused on good driving behavior when they get behind the wheel.
The latest AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index finds drivers who have been in at least one crash in the past two years are significantly more likely to engage in risky behaviors like speeding or texting, even when they think the police may catch them.
“The frequency of drivers in the United States engaging in improper behavior is too high. While drivers acknowledge that certain activities behind the wheel – like texting, are dangerous, some do them anyway,” said Jenifer Moore, AAA spokeswoman. “We need to be aware of the serious consequences of engaging in these types of dangerous driving behaviors and change course.”
The Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI), which highlights the gap between drivers’ attitudes and their reported behaviors, found that drivers perceive distracted, aggressive and impaired driving as dangerous. Yet many of them admit to engaging in at least one of these exact behaviors in the 30 days before the survey. The numbers were even higher for those involved in a recent crash:
This data shows that people are not altering their behavior even when it has resulted in a crash.
Of all dangerous driving tasks, drivers dubbed these two extremely or very dangerous:
Yet these same drivers text when behind the wheel, even believing there is a risk of getting caught by police for reading (43.7%) or typing (42.7%) a text message.
According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, traffic fatalities on Ohio roads have increased in five of the past six years. Provisional data shows that 2019 was the second-deadliest year of the past decade with at least 1,157 people killed in Ohio traffic crashes.
AAA supports proposed legislation in Ohio, the Hands Free-Ohio Bill, which would strengthen Ohio's laws regarding the use of wireless devices, including smartphones, while driving.
With limited exceptions, the Hands-Free Ohio bill will make driving while handling any electronic wireless device a primary offense. This includes, but is not limited to, writing, sending, or reading text-based communications; watching or recording videos; taking photos or looking at images; livestreaming; using apps; entering information into GPS navigation programs; dialing phone numbers; or holding a device for a phone call.
Drivers engage in some dangerous behaviors less often
It’s not all bad news. Compared with 2018 findings, drivers reported they are engaging in some dangerous behaviors less frequently. Drivers who reported talking on a hand-held cell phone saw the most significant decrease, down from 52.1% to 43.2%, while drowsy driving and texting both fell by 3 percentage points.
“If you point to the dangerous driving behaviors of others that you sometimes do yourself, then you are the problem,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “I’m encouraged to see a slight shift toward safer driving behaviors, but we have more work to do. Stay focused on driving. This is a must.”
AAA recommends these safety tips to keep in mind.
The annual TSCI identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,714 licensed drivers ages 16 or older who reported driving in the 30 days before the survey, which was administered between Sept. 6 and Oct. 8, 2019. The AAA Foundation issued its first TSCI in 2008, and the latest report is online: AAAFoundation.org
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by researching their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research develops educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users.
AAA provides automotive, travel, and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and nearly two and a half million members in Ohio. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. AAA is a non-stck, non-profit corporation working on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel, and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app (AAA.com/mobile) for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.
Who's in the Driver's Seat? The Transformation of Transportation
On Tuesday, October 17, 2017, AAA and TEDx Wilmington held the first TEDx Salon dedicated to ideas worth spreading in transportation.
This event had:
This TEDx WilmingtonSalon was organized in partnership with AAA
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