With more than 94 percent of all traffic accidents accounted for by human error, it seems as if we humans aren’t all that great behind the wheel.
A lot of factors come together when it comes to the high tally of highway deaths, such as the fact that an overwhelming 87 percent of drivers admitted they have purposefully engaged in one or more risky behaviors sometimes during the past month.
This statistic is based on a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a survey based on the self-reported answers of 2,442 licensed drivers ages 16 and older. The surveyors asked the respondents about several sins that U.S. drivers confessed to committing behind the wheel.
For example, almost 70 percent of motorists have admitted to talk on their mobile phone while driving, while 42 percent said they’ve checked their email or text messages, and 32 percent even replied to said email or message.
As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving causes the death of at least 3,000 people each year. It’s eye-opening to find out that taking your attention away from the road for even two seconds doubles your risk of causing a crash.
Speed is also a risk factor, with 48 percent of the respondents saying they often exceed the posted speed limit on the highway. The same NHTSA report said that speeding is the leading factor of death in approximately 10,000 accidents annually.
It’s not uncommon for people to get behind the wheel while being drowsy; as many as 32 percent of those queried admitted they’ve been driving at least once while they could barely keep their eyes open. Around 328,000 crashes per year are caused by drowsy driving, with as many as 6,400 fatalities.
Over 39 percent of drivers surveyed confessed they bolted through an intersection some seconds after the traffic signal had just turned red, even though they could easily and safely stop their vehicles. According to NHTSA’s data, running a red light has killed 627 people during 2013.
So what’s the takeaway here? As Peter Kissinger explained, the CEO and president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, this survey only goes to show that “there is a culture of indifference for far too many drivers when it comes to road safety.”
The surprising reality is that a lot of drivers consider themselves to be more careful than others in traffic, even though most of them are still reckless drivers endangering others on the road.
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