In February 2017, AAA issued its 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index, an annual study of attitudes and conduct of U.S. drivers. For 2016, the results were based on an online survey of 2,511 licensed drivers.
Key findings show we’re still committing deadly driving sins—even though we know better and despise it when others do it. Some of the most telling results include:
- Distracted driving remains a threat. While 78.2% of drivers deemed texting or emailing while driving “completely unacceptable,” 40.2% report reading a text message while driving in the last 30 days. Almost one-third of drivers sent a message in the same period.
- Red lights are all too often optional. The survey reports just 92.8% of drivers find it unacceptable to drive through a light that just turned red when they could stop safely. Isn’t the whole purpose of a red light to make you stop unless you have no choice? It’s shocking almost 10% of drivers thinks it’s OK to run a red light. And for those of us who don’t, over one person in three admitted running a light anyway.
- Speeding is a looming threat in residential areas. Nearly half the drivers admitted driving over 10 mph over the speed limit in a residential street in the last month. These are areas where children play, and could unexpectedly run out to chase a ball.
There’s nothing like sobering statistics to get us to think about our own habits. When you drive, nothing’s more important than getting there safe. “Safe” includes everyone around you—whether they’re being safe or not. Let’s change our driving habits into being the kind of drivers who show others to drive as we do, not as we say.