Research: Drivers involved in crashes admit to risky driving behaviors

National & World

(WEHT) — The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest research finds drivers who have been in at least one crash in the past two years are more likely to engage in risky behaviors like speeding or texting, even when they think the police may catch them.

The annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI) comes from survey data 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 index, which highlights the gap between drivers’ attitudes and their reported behaviors, found that drivers perceive distracted, aggressive and impaired driving as dangerous. Yet many of them admit to engaging in at least one of these exact behaviors in the 30 days before the survey.

  • 50% of those involved in a recent crash admit to talking on a hand-held device while driving in the past month vs. 42% not involved in a crash
  • 43% of those involved in a recent crash admit to texting while driving in the past month vs. 27% not involved in a crash
  • 39% of those involved in a recent crash admit to running a red light in the past month vs. 30% not involved in a crash

Of all dangerous driving tasks, drivers said said these two were extremely or very dangerous:

  • Driving when so tired, it was hard to keep your eyes open (96%)
  • Driving while typing or sending a text message or an email (96%)

Yet these same drivers say they text when behind the wheel, even believing there is a risk of getting caught by police for reading (43.7%) or typing (42.7%) a text message. 

Drivers who said talking on a hand-held cell phone saw the most significant decrease, down from 52.1% to 43.2%, while drowsy driving and texting both fell by 3 percentage points.

You can see the whole report here.

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(This story was originally published on June 11, 2020)

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