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A recent national survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms that Americans desire a greater level of safety than they now experience on our roads and are open to more government action to make it happen. Yet, many are unwilling to change potentially deadly driving behaviors and candidly admit they are part of the problem. That is why AAA and the Foundation are challenging motorists to examine their driving habits and make a resolution to drive safer in 2012 and beyond.
The Department of Transportation recently released updated fatality and injury data which indicate that 32,885 lives were lost in automobile crashes in 2010, fewer deaths on record than any time for the past 60 years.
“Even one death on our roads is unacceptable,” says AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Something is terribly amiss in our traffic safety culture when, in the safest year since 1949, on average there is still one needless death every 16 minutes in motor vehicle crashes. To reach zero deaths each driver must take a moment to assess his driving habits and ask, when it comes to safe driving, am I part of the problem or part of the solution?”
For the fourth consecutive year, the Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index finds that most drivers (86%) view it as unacceptable to drive without wearing a seatbelt, yet nearly one in four admits that he has done so in the past 30 days. Additionally, a substantial number of drivers find it unacceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit on residential streets and admit to having done so in the past month.
Such findings indicate that a false comfort exists among many drivers who believe ‘it’s the other guy behind the wheel’ yet admit to regularly engaging in potentially deadly behaviors like texting, driving while drunk or drowsy, excessive speeding, and red-light running.
“This ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude that persists among drivers needs to change before we can experience a traffic-safety culture where safe driving is the norm,” explains Kissinger.
The following is a snapshot of the key findings from the 2011 Traffic Safety Culture Index.
Drinking and driving
Cell phone use and texting
Speeding and Red-Light Running
“We are moving in the right direction when it comes to safety on our roads but we need to do much more. Changing driver behaviors is not rocket science … it’s harder. Take the first step and make a personal goal to be a safe driver in 2012,” concluded Kissinger.
The AAA Foundation’s fourth annual Traffic Safety Culture Index was conducted June 6 – 28, 2011 by Knowledge Networks for the AAA Foundation, with a nationally representative sample of 3,147 U.S. residents ages 16 and older using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel, a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The survey has a margin of error of approximately +/- 2.3 percent at a 95% confidence level.