Lewis Diuguid

Motorists taking more risks behind the wheel, AAA survey finds

A new AAA Foundation survey finds that a lot more motorists are doing risky things like texting as they drive.
A new AAA Foundation survey finds that a lot more motorists are doing risky things like texting as they drive. The Associated Press

Don’t expect other people on the road to drive as defensively as many motorists had assumed others were doing.

The AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index reports in the May-June edition of AAA Midwest Traveler magazine that a lot of drivers admit to speeding regularly, running red lights, using distracting devices or driving drowsy. That’s despite one in three motorists having had a loved one who was seriously injured or killed in an auto crash.

The annual survey found the unsafe actions behind the wheel persist despite one in five drivers having suffered a serious crash and one in 10 having been seriously injured in an auto wreck. The survey reports on unsafe driving behaviors in the previous 30 days.

The survey found that 36 percent of drivers fessed up to running red lights. However, 55 percent said they knew it was a serious threat, and 73 percent said it was an unacceptable act on the road.

On speeding, 44 percent admitted to driving more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. However, 65 percent of respondents said they knew it was unacceptable.

On drowsy driving, 29 percent admitted to the bad habit. However, 81 percent said they knew it was unacceptable.

On texting or emailing while driving, 27 percent reported doing it. However, 79 percent said they knew it was a serious threat, and 84 percent said it was unacceptable.

Other distractions in the previous 30 days included two in three drivers reported talking on their cellphone, one in three drivers said they often talked on their cellphone and one in three drivers admitted to reading a text message or email.

Many motorists who take such risks depend on others who are behind the wheel to watch out for the stupid things that occur on the road. That assumption no longer appears to be valid.

Be careful out there.

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