Dangerous Driving Declines, but Not Enough
About two years ago, I wrote about a study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. That survey revealed that most drivers recognized the dangers of activities like aggressive driving, texting while driving, and driving under the influence. But, those same respondents told researchers those behaviors were still pretty common. And, they weren’t just talking about seeing others on the road engaging in risky behaviors. They admitted to engaging in those behaviors themselves.
The most recent update to that survey was somewhat encouraging. For example, more people said they disapproved of talking on hand-held cell phones while driving. And, self-reporting of engaging in all forms of distracted driving decreased somewhat. Fewer respondents also reported driving while drowsy. But, there is still plenty of room for improvement.
- 7% of respondents said they’d manually typed a text or email while driving at least once in the past 30 days, compared with 29.3% the previous year.
- 3% said they’d done so regularly or fairly often, compared with 4.5% the previous year.
- 3% said they’d driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street, compared with 41.5% the year before.
- 6% said they’d driven through a red light when they could have stopped safely at least once in the past 30 days, compared with 31.1% the previous year.
- 3% said they’d driven when they were so tired it was difficult to keep their eyes open at least once in the previous 30 days, compared with 23.7% the previous year.
- 9% said they’d driven when they thought they might be over the legal limit at least once in the preceding 30 days, compared with 9.9% the previous year.
There were also small but significant drops in drivers who reported driving within an hour of having used marijuana or driving when using potentially impairing prescription drugs.
Notably, while many of these behaviors have improved year-over-year, the percentage who admit to engaging in these risky behaviors remains significant. And, the disconnect between driver perceptions of risk and social acceptability and their own behaviors we reported on two years ago remains.
Conflict Between Risk Perception, Social Beliefs, and Actions in Traffic
In nearly every area, there are overlaps between the drivers who rate a behavior as very dangerous or extremely dangerous and those who have engaged in that behavior at least once in the past 30 days. For example:
- 2% said driving while holding and talking on a cell phone was either very dangerous or extremely dangerous, but 37.2% said they had engaged in that behavior at least once in the past 30 days
- 9% said that reading a text or email on their cell phone while driving was very dangerous or extremely dangerous, yet 33.9% said they had engaged in that behavior at least once in the past 30 days
- 5% said typing a text message or email while driving was very dangerous or extremely dangerous, yet 22.7% of respondents said they had done so at least once in the past 30 days
- 9% said they believed that driving through a red light when they could have stopped safely was very dangerous or extremely dangerous, but 25.6% reported having done so in the past 30 days
- 5% said they thought it was very dangerous or extremely dangerous to drive aggressively by switching lanes quickly or following very close behind another car, but 21.3% admitted to having done so within the previous 30 days
- 9% said it was very or extremely dangerous to drive when they were so tired that they had a hard time keeping their eyes open, but 17.3% said they had done so recently
In short, recognition of the risks of some of the most dangerous behaviors remains high or has increased. And, the incidence of drivers admitting to engaging in these risky behaviors has diminished somewhat year-over-year. However, a significant sector of drivers appears to recognize the risks of these behaviors and continue to at least occasionally engage in them anyway.
Actions like aggressive driving, distracted driving, driving under the influence of alcohol, and speeding will generally constitute negligence. That means that if a driver engaging in one of these behaviors is involved in an accident, they will typically be held at least partially responsible. If you have been injured by a driver who was acting negligently, you may be entitled to compensation.
The compensation varies from case to case, depending on your damages and other factors. However, some common damages awarded in a car accident cases include compensation for your medical bills, replacement of income loss due to your injury, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An experienced car accident attorney can be your best source of information about who may be legally responsible for your traffic crash and what type of damages may be available to you.
You can schedule a free consultation with Personal Injury Lawyer Kevin Broderick right now by calling 978-459-3085 or filling out the contact form on this site.
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