Why Do Drivers Knowingly Put Themselves and Others at Risk?

drive safely sign

A recent study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) highlights some startling driving behaviors despite broad awareness that these behaviors may cause serious injury or death.

Risky Driving Habits

Have you engaged in any of these risky driving behaviors in the last month?

  • Running red lights: according to study, 36% of drivers run red lights. That’s 1 out of every 3 drivers you may meet on the road!  Yet 73% of people, or 3 out of 4 people, say that running red lights is completely unacceptable.
  • Speeding (over 10 mph) on residential streets: 44% of drivers report speeding, but 65% say that it is completely unacceptable. If you are a parent and have waited at the bus stop with your child, you have probably witnessed the danger that speeding on residential roads creates.
  • Drowsy driving: 29% of drivers admit to driving while they were so sleepy they had trouble keeping their eyes open, but 81% say this is completely unacceptable.
  • Texting/emailing: 27% of drivers (more than 1 in 4 drivers) admit to typing or sending a text or email while driving, while 84% of drivers say this is completely unacceptable.

Where is the disconnect between drivers’ actions and their judgments of these behaviors? Perhaps drivers think they are immune to the risks or don’t realize the magnitude of statistics showing how risky these behaviors can be.

Statistics on Car Accident Injuries

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation:

  • Car accidents are the leading cause of death among people aged 1 to 34
  • Drowsy driving causes 83,000 accidents and over 1000 deaths each year
  • Fatality rates from car crashes in New England, including RI and MA, increased 10% from 2012 to 2013, even though national fatality rates from car crashes are slowly declining
  • New research from crash videos predicts that distracted driving was a factor in 6 out of every 10 teen driver crashes
  • About 5,000 pedestrians die and 76,000 are injured in traffic collisions every year

What Can You Do to Diffuse Risky Driving Behavior?

As pedestrians (or runners or bike riders), make direct eye contact with drivers. A recent study reported by the Wall Street Journal shows that eye contact may demonstrate dominance and an implicit order to stop. It also may trigger a desire in the driver to make a good impression and therefore stop for the pedestrian. Either way, research shows that direct eye contact increased rates of drivers stopping at an intersection for pedestrians. The same effects may result if drivers make eye contact with other drivers who are texting, speeding, or failing to obey traffic laws, thus encouraging safer driving habits.

As drivers, it can’t be said enough times, avoid distracted driving. Put your mobile device on vibrate and in the backseat while driving.  April is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month and at the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC, we are tirelessly advocating for greater awareness about the risks of driving while distracted.

Contact the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC today to discuss your car accident injuries resulting from the risky driving behavior of another driver.