This week the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a report revealing that millennial drivers engage in risky behavior at a disturbingly high rate. The report was issued after the foundation surveyed 2,511 millennial drivers from August 25th to September 6th of 2016. The survey compiled not only the driver’s habits but also their reactions to dangerous driving behaviors.
The survey reported that nearly 60 percent of millennial drivers admit to using their cell phones behind the wheel to send a text or email. That is nearly twice as much as the rate of all other drivers (31.4%). Furthermore, 40.2 percent of those drivers reported to reading a text or email during their drive. Not only do the statistics prove millennial drivers engage in risky behavior, it also reports that they are hypocritical about risky driving habits. While 60 percent admit to sending a text while driving, 78.2 percent of those surveyed reported that conduct as being “completely unacceptable.”
Additionally, nearly half of millennials reported running a red light even when they had the ability to stop safely. That number is 20 percent greater than all other drivers combined. Shockingly, 92.8 percent of the drivers surveyed called driving through a red light unacceptable. While 5 percent of all other drivers believe speeding 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone is acceptable, nearly 12 percent of millennials found the risky driving tolerable.
With drunk driving accidents becoming more prominent, the survey also gauged millennial’s feelings on getting behind the wheel intoxicated. It is estimated that 81 percent of millennials support requiring ignition locks for first-time offenders of driving while intoxicated. As many as 65 percent of drivers also supported lowering the blood-alcohol content from the current standard of 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent. Only 2.5 percent of these drivers acknowledged driving within an hour of consuming alcohol or using marijuana.
Some safety experts believe they can prevent millennials, and other drivers from engaging in risky behavior through technology. They believe that smartphones should be adapted to be disabled while the driver is behind the wheel. That suggestion puts the auto industry in a bind. Car companies are working hard to feed millennials’ intense desire to keep their eyes glued to their screens, even though the technology may be unsafe.
The AAA foundation recommends that the first step to correcting this problem is having a discussion with drivers about the dangers of risky behavior. Although traffic fatalities in the U.S. have been trending downwards since 2008, within the last few years the number of traffic deaths have continually increased. In 2015 there was a 7.2 percent increase in fatal traffic accidents and an estimated 37,092 fatalities. In 2016, as many as 40,00 people died from traffic accidents, a 6 percent increase from the year before. According to the National Safety Council, 2016 may have been one of the most deadliest year on U.S. roads since 2007. While most drivers seem to have an understanding of the danger, their responses show that they have not altered their actions in the face of the risks.
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