Annual survey reveals that many drivers engage in behaviors they know are risky
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (June 11, 2020) – After three months of staying at home because of COVID-19, drivers are beginning to get back on the road. AAA urges motorists to avoid falling back into the dangerous driving habits revealed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI)
“The pandemic has highlighted the extent to which individual decisions and behaviors can impact the health and safety of others,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA spokesperson. “We need to remember that we are all ‘in this together’ when it comes to safety on the road as well.”
The TSCI, which was conducted before the pandemic hit, shows a significant gap between what drivers consider dangerous and what they report doing themselves. It found that drivers perceive distracted, aggressive, drowsy and impaired driving as dangerous, yet many admit to engaging in at least one of these exact behaviors in the 30 days before the survey.
|Behavior||Perceive as Dangerous||Done in the last 30 days|
|Reading on a cell phone||94.3%||38.6%|
|Typing on a cell phone||96.2%||29.3%|
|Talking on a handheld cell phone||79.7%||43.2%|
|Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway||55.1%||42.8%|
|Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street||64%||41.5%|
|Driving through a red light||86%||31%|
|Driving while being so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open||96.1%||23.6%|
|Driving after drinking enough alcohol to be over the legal limit||94%||9.8%|
|Driving within an hour after using marijuana||68.7%||6.3%|
|Driving while using potentially impairing prescription drugs||88.4%||5.8%|
AAA recommends these safety tips to keep everyone safe on the road:
- Out of sight, out of mind. Stow your smartphone away, turn it to airplane mode, or activate call/text blocking features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb.
- Slow down. Drivers tend to overestimate time saved by speeding. You’d have to travel 100 miles to save roughly 5 minutes, moving at 75 mph instead of 70 mph. Speed kills and isn’t worth the cost.
- Stay alert. Get adequate rest and stop driving if you become sleepy. Fatigue impacts reaction time, judgment, and vision, causing people who are very tired to behave in similar ways to those who are drunk.
- Drive sober. If you consume marijuana, alcohol, or use potentially impairing prescription medications, then don’t drive. And if you’re going to drive, then don’t consume these substances. If you are taking prescription medications, visit Roadwise Rx to learn if they can impair driving.
- Watch for vulnerable road users. Biking and walking have soared in popularity this year, and it is the responsibility of every driver to watch and share the road safely with cyclists and pedestrians.
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 – The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
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.