Not Just Some Theory: AAA Survey Shows Drivers in Crashes More Likely to Text, Phone, Run Lights

Teenage driver

Photo from the American Automobile Association website

Distracted driving is one factor in the high crash rates for teenage drivers.

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American drivers continue to maintain a “Do-As-I-Say, Not-As-I-Do” attitude on the nation’s roadways. Worse, they fail to change their bad driving behavior even when their actions result in crashes, says AAA.

— an announcement from AAA Northeast  

In the latest AAA Traffic Safety Culture Index, the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety reports drivers, who’ve been in at least one crash in the past two years, are significantly more likely to speed or text even when they think the police may catch them.

The Index also highlights the gap between drivers’ attitudes and their reported behaviors.

The research found drivers perceive distracted, aggressive and impaired driving as dangerous. Yet many admit to engaging in at least one of these risky behaviors a month before the survey. The numbers were even higher for those involved in a recent crash.

  • 50% of those involved in a recent crash admit to talking on a hand-held device while driving in the past month vs. 42% not involved in a crash
  • 43% of those involved in a recent crash admit to texting while driving in the past month compared to 27% not involved in a crash
  • 39% of those involved in a recent crash admit to running a red light in the past month compared to 30% not involved in a crash.

“Far too  many drivers engage in improper on-the-road behavior,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “And while drivers acknowledge certain behind-the-wheel activities – such as texting, driving drowsy and speeding are dangerous – many do it anyway even when serious consequences result.”

But there’s a glimmer of hope on roadways, the Foundation reports: Drivers are exhibiting some bad behaviors — talking on a handheld phone, texting, and drowsy driving — less frequently when compared to 2018 Index findings

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:

AAA Northeast is a not-for-profit auto club with 62 offices in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire and New York, providing nearly 6  million local AAA members with travel, insurance, finance, and auto-related services. In Connecticut, we serve a half-million members living in Fairfield, New Haven, and Litchfield counties.

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