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AAA study shows difference between drivers' attitudes and actions

Back in 2006, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released the first edition of its Traffic Safety Culture Index, an annual survey that provides an eye-opening and thought-provoking look at trends and attitudes among U.S. drivers.

This year's Traffic Safety Culture Index, published earlier this week, actually serves to stand out from past editions, as it shows that there is actually a certain level of hypocrisy among motorists when it comes to safe driving.

Specifically, the survey found that many U.S. motorists regularly engage in dangerous conduct behind the wheel -- running red lights, speeding, distracted driving, etc. -- despite one in three of them having seen a loved one suffer serious injuries or even lose their lives in car accidents.

To get a better picture, consider the following figures relating to both prevailing attitudes and actual behind-the-wheel practices in the 30 days prior to the survey:

  • 36 percent of motorists confessed to running red lights, despite 55 percent saying such conduct constituted a very serious safety threat and 73 percent classifying it as unacceptable behavior.
  • 44 percent of motorists confessed to speeding, despite 65 percent classifying it as unacceptable behavior.
  • 27 percent of motorists confessed to texting or writing/sending an email while driving, despite 79 percent saying such conduct constituted a very serious safety threat and 84 percent classifying it as unacceptable behavior.

These numbers are indeed truly shocking and suggest that more people must start practicing what they preach behind the wheel. Indeed, AAA indicates that any sort of meaningful change in traffic safety starts at the individual level.

What are your thoughts on this study?

Source: The Herald, "Crashes touch one in three but drivers continue to take risks," Feb. 10, 2015

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