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AAA reports that 52% of Americans feel less safe on the roads than five years ago

November 27, 2010

From 1985 to 2009, 1,055,881 men, women, and children  died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children, teens, and young adults up to age 34.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s third annual Traffic Safety Survey Index found that Americans are feeling less safe on the roads today.    The highlights of the survey follow:

• More than half of all drivers (52%) say driving feels less safe today than it did 5 years ago— a 17-percentage-point increase from only a year ago. Nearly half cite some form of driver distraction as the main reason or as a reason for their feeling less safe.

• Cell phone use while driving has become widespread—more than 2 in 3 drivers report talking on their cell phone while driving in the past month; more than 1 in 3 say they do so fairly often or regularly. There is moderate social disapproval toward using a hand-held cell phone while driving, but over half of all drivers believe incorrectly that most others actually approve of it. Presently, people are generally accepting of hands-free cell phone use.

• Most people view drivers texting and emailing while driving as a very serious threat to their own personal safety and consider it completely unacceptable. However, many drivers don’t perceive social disapproval from others. Nearly 1 in 4 drivers (24%) admits to texting or emailing while driving.

• A two-thirds majority of Americans support restricting the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, but more people oppose (50%) than support (46%) an outright ban on using any type of cell phone (including hands-free) while driving. There is strong support for laws restricting texting while driving.

• Speeding on freeways is widespread—45% of drivers say they have driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway in the past month—and nearly 1 in 3 say they consider it acceptable to do so. In contrast, driving 15 mph over the speed limit on residential streets is much less common, and  rated as one of the most unacceptable things that a driver can do.


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