By Pam Witt-Hillen, ThedaStar flight nurse
We all need to consider giving ourselves a digital sabbatical while driving our cars!
The National Safety Council recently published the results of its Driver Safety Public Opinion Poll. These survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data is from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Index in 2008; the latest report is online at www.AAAFoundation.org.
The survey of 2,511 drivers from August 25 through September 6 found:
- Drivers ages 19–24 acknowledged typing or sending a text or email while driving at nearly twice the rate of other drivers (59.3 percent to 31.4 percent).
- Nearly half of drivers ages 19–24 reported running a red light even if they could have stopped safely, compared with 36 percent of other drivers.
- Nearly 12 percent of this age group said it was acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to 5 percent of other drivers.
“Alarmingly, some drivers believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said David Yang, the AAA Foundation’s executive director. While 74 percent of those who took the survey identified texting and driving as a major concern, they continued to engage in this risky behavior. He stated these findings come as driving is becoming more dangerous. The number of traffic deaths in the U.S. rose to 35,092 in 2015, a 7 percent increase from the previous year and the largest one-year jump in five decades! “It is critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors, and change their attitudes and behaviors to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads,” Yang said.
How about putting our phones down and following traffic laws to prevent injuring, even killing, others or ourselves? You can’t take back a fatal choice.