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Since 2008, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has conducted a national survey of United States motorist to identify key indicators about the degree to which traffic safety is valued and pursued by drivers.

As in previous years, the 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index reveals that people in the U.S. value safe travel and also desire a greater level of security than they currently are experiencing. Unsafe driving behavior — like red-light running, texting while driving and impaired driving — are perceived as posing serious threats to personal safety. However, despite these strongly held concerns, many individuals admit engaging in unsafe driving practices.

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Actual behaviors often contradict respondent’s attitudes about safety — creating a “do as I say, not as I do” — culture on the roads.

The survey data are from a sample of 2,613 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days.

Review the 14 key survey findings listed below.

  1. More than 1 in 5 (21.4%) drivers report having been involved in a motor vehicle crash in which someone had to go to the hospital, including 11.1% who have been seriously injured in a crash themselves.

  2. Nearly 1 in 3 (31.6%) drivers report having had a relative who was seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash.

  3. Most drivers (87.5%) perceive that distracted drivers are a bigger problem today than in past years. Moreover, distracted driving outpaced all other issues as a growing concern. It was followed by traffic congestion at 74.5%, aggressive drivers at 68.1%, driver using drugs at 54.9% and drunk driving at 43.4%.

  4. Cellphone use while driving is common. in the past month, 60.5% of the drivers talked on a hands free cellphone while 49.1% talked on handheld cellphone. Drivers are more accepting of hands free cellphone use (69.0%) than hand held cellphone (24.6%) while driving.

  5. More view drivers texting or emailing while driving as a serious threat (96.8%) than drivers talking on cellphones (87.7%). However, in the past 30 days 34.9% drivers read a text message or email while driving and 34.6% of drivers typed or sent a message while driving.

  6. A majority of respondents (87.6%) support legislation against reading, typing, or sending a text message or email and 73.4% of drivers support having a law against using a hand held cellphone while driving. However, only 40.9% support a outright ban on using type of cellphone (including hands free) while driving.

  7. Speeding on freeways and on residential streets is prevalent. Half of drivers (50.3%) reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on the freeway and 47.6% reported driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.

  8. There is greater social disapproval for speeding on a residential street than on freeways. only 23.9% drivers believe 15 mph on freeways is completely or somewhat acceptable, while only 14.0% of motorists deem driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street as acceptable.

  9. A large portion of drivers (42.7%) admitted to driving through a stoplight that has just turned red when could have stopped safely in the past 30 days, despite most drivers (92.9%) viewing it as an unacceptable behavior. In conjunction with this, an overwhelming majority (91.4%) of drivers perceive running red lights as a serious or somewhat serious threat to their personal safety.

  10. 42.4% of drivers have at least one or more days when they get less than 6 hours of sleep in a typical week.

  11. The majority of motorists view drowsy driving as a serious or somewhat serious threat to their safety (87.9%) and an unacceptable behavior (95.2%); yet around 3 in 10 (30.8%) admit to driving when they were so tired that they had a had time keeping their eyes open at some point in the last month.

  12. An overwhelming majority drivers considered driving after drinking alcohol a serious threat to their personal safety (94.3%). However, 13.5% reported driving at least once in the past year when they thought their alcohol might have been close or possibly over the legal limit.

  13. A majority of drivers (90.8%) perceive people driving after using illegal drugs to be either a serious threat or somewhat serious threat to the personal safety.

  14. Most respondents supported requiring alcohol ignition interlocks fr drivers convicted of DWI, even for first time offenders (79.9%); requiring built in interlocks for all new vehicles (73.0%) and having a per se law for marijuana (82.9%).

SOURCE - Property Casualty 360 - 14 Key Findings from the AAA Foundation 2017 Traffic Safety Study
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