AAA report finds better behavior behind the wheel

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DEARBORN, Mich. (WLNS)—A new report found unsafe driving such as running red lights, drowsy driving, and impaired driving due to alcohol and cannabis have declined in the past three years.

Drivers have admitted to speeding and using cell phones while driving, according to new survey data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“Based on self-reported driving behaviors from our annual survey of traffic safety culture, it is encouraging to see more drivers recognize the danger of certain activities behind the wheel,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “However, the ultimate goal is to see the majority of drivers form safe driving habits and practice them.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that an estimated 38,680 people died in car crashes in 2020. NHTSA estimates for 2021, 8,730 people died in car crashes in the first three months of the year.

“AAA has some positive news to share about trends in safer driving behaviors, but it’s not quite time to declare victory,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “Downward trends in self-reported impaired driving, red-light running, and drowsy driving is the kind of progress we need to curb the recent spikes in traffic fatalities. It’s my hope we are turning a corner. I know we can do better.”

People who reported having engaged in the following unsafe driving behaviors at least once in the past 30 days     

Unsafe Driving Behavior2018 (%)2019 (%)2020 (%)Change from 2018 to 2020 (%)
Driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway48.948.245.1-7.8
Driven while holding and talking on a cell phone52.143.237.2-28.6*
Driven while reading a text or email on a cell phone41.338.633.9-17.9*
Driven through a light that had just turned red31.431.125.6-18.5*
Driven aggressively by switching lanes quickly or very close behind another car24.826.521.3-14.1
Driven when so tired it was hard to keep eyes open27.023.617.3-35.9*
Driven when you had enough alcohol that you thought you were over the legal limit10.99.85.9-45.9*
Driven within an hour of consuming cannabis6.66.54.4-33.3*

AAA recommends people should continue to obey speed limits, stow away cellphones, only drive sober, and stay alert.

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