According To New AAA Study: Young Millennials Top List Of Worst Behaved Drivers
BELLEVUE, Wash. — A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 88 percent of young millennials (ages 19-24) engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers. These dangerous behaviors ― which increase crash risk ― included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding.
Distracted driving and speeding are the leading contributing factors to collisions in Washington,” said Jennifer Cook, AAA Washington spokesperson. “Washington traffic data showed the number of fatal collisions that involved a young millennial increased 14 percent. It went from 139 in 2014 to 159 in 2015.”
This report comes as U.S. traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in 2015, an increase of more than 7 percent, the largest single-year increase in five decades. Washington experienced a 19 percent increase from 462 total traffic fatalities in 2014 to 551 in 2015.
“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”
By rank and by age group, the percentage of drivers who reported engaging in speeding, red light running or texting behind the wheel in the past 30 days include:
- Drivers ages 19-24: 88.4 percent
- Drivers ages 25-39: 79.2 percent
- Drivers ages 40-59: 75.2 percent
- Drivers ages 16-18: 69.3 percent
- Drivers ages 75+: 69.1 percent
- Drivers ages 60-74: 67.3 percent
Texting While Driving
- Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to report having read a text message or e-mail while driving in the last 30 days (66.1 percent vs. 40.2 percent).
- Drivers ages 19-24 were nearly twice as likely as all drivers to report having typed or sent a text message or e-mail while driving (59.3 percent vs. 31.4 percent).
- The Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s (WTSC) statewide observational survey of distracted drivers found that cell phone use is the most common type of distraction, with 71 percent of distracted drivers engaged with their phones while operating their vehicles. Statewide, nearly 1 out of 10 drivers in Washington State are distracted while driving, representing a distraction rate of 9.2 percent.
Support for Distracted Driving Laws
- There is strong support (88.4%) for laws restricting reading, typing or sending a text message or email while driving.
- More than 2 in 3 drivers (71.5%) support restricting the use of hand-held cell phones while driving
- 42.0% of drivers support an outright ban on using any type of cell phone (including
hands-free) while driving.
- Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to report having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
- Nearly 12 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to less than 5
percent of all drivers.
Red- Light Running
- Nearly 50 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported driving through a light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely, compared to 36 percent of all drivers.
- Nearly 14 percent of drivers age 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive through a light that just turned red, when they could have stopped safely, compared to about 6 percent of all drivers.
The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data are from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The AAA Foundation issued its first Traffic Safety Culture Index in 2008, and the latest report is online at www.AAAFoundation.org.