Car accidents have an impact on almost everyone in the United States. In fact, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost one out of every three people in the U.S. has had a friend or relative who was seriously injured or killed in an auto accident. Many of these accidents are caused by preventable dangerous driving behavior that most people know to be risky. Yet, despite the fact that people know of the dangers of certain behaviors, many engage in risky acts behind the wheel anyway.
Recently, our car accident attorneys in Atlanta, GA took a closer look at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's 2012 Traffic Safety Culture Index. The index reveals important information about people's attitudes toward safe driving as well as how people's behavior is affected by their attitudes.
How Attitude Affects Driver Behavior
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:
- Virtually every driver responding to the AAA survey indicated that driving drunk is a very serious threat and a behavior that is met with widespread societal disapproval. Yet, 2.1 percent of the drivers surveyed said they may have driven while over-the-limit at least once in the past month. Fourteen percent said that they may have driven drunk in the past year.
- Two out of every three drivers responding to AAA said they thought there should be a ban on the use of handheld devices when driving and 48.6 percent supported a complete ban on cell phone use. Yet, more than two-thirds of drivers said they'd chatted on their phones as they drove during the past 30 days.
- Almost all drivers say that texting and driving is unacceptable behavior and a serious safety threat. Yet, only one out of six said society looks down on the behavior, and one out of four said they'd texted or emailed as they drove in the past 30 days.
- Speeding on highways is widely viewed as acceptable, and most drivers also didn't see a big problem with speeding in a residential neighborhood, although speeding in a residential neighborhood was seen as worse than on a highway. Almost half of drivers admitted to going too fast (15 mph over the limit) on highways, and almost half said they'd gone 10 mph or more over the limit in a residential area.
- Although 38.4 percent of drivers said they'd rolled through a recently changed red, the vast majority of drivers responding to the survey saw a problem with running a traffic signal.
- Drowsy driving is also viewed by almost all drivers as an unacceptable risk. Again, though, behavior doesn't follow this belief. Almost one out of three drivers said they'd continued driving in the past month even as they fought to stay awake. Almost half of the total number of drivers surveyed said they'd fallen asleep one or more times in their life when driving.
Unfortunately, these statistics show that people can know a driving behavior is dangerous and still do it anyway. This type of disconnect between attitude and behavior needs to be addressed and people need to start doing what they know is right if the number of auto accidents is ever going to be significantly reduced.
If you have been injured in an Atlanta car accident, contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates at 1-800-898-HAYS.