88 Percent of Young Millennials Admit to Risky Behaviors Behind the Wheel

Portland, Ore., – A new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that 88 percent of young millennials 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 ― include texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. These findings come as U.S. traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in 2015, an increase of more than seven percent, the largest single-year increase in five decades.

In Oregon, traffic deaths rose to 410 in 2015, up 28 percent compared to the prior year.

“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.”

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).

Speeding

·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 ages 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.

“Our latest study again shows that the vast majority of drivers admit to risky behaviors behind the wheel. Most drivers falsely believe that they are better and more careful than other drivers on the road and somehow feel it’s okay for them to text, send emails, speed and run red lights,” says Marie Dodds, Public Affairs Director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.