The results of a survey released recently by the AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety suggest that drivers in Texas and around the country are becoming far more reckless. The road safety advocacy group compiled its data from 2,657 online surveys submitted by drivers from all parts of the United States. The results are worrying because they indicate a sharp uptick in dangerous behavior like speeding, running red lights, using cellphones and other devices while behind the wheel and driving under the influence.
More than half of the drivers who submitted surveys in 2021 admitted to driving at least 15 mph over the posted speed limit during the previous 30 days, and more than a quarter of them admitted to running a red light at least once. Even more worrying was a 23.7% year-over-year increase in drivers who reported that they operated a vehicle despite believing they were too impaired to drive safely. Most respondents said that they knew this behavior was dangerous, but they chose to engage in it anyway. The AAA released the 2021 Traffic Safety Culture Index in December 2022.
Road deaths surge
Road safety experts think that this disturbing rise in reckless and negligent behavior could explain the surge in road deaths observed in 2021. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 43,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents in 2021. In 2020, that figure was less than 39,000.
Bad habits are easy to fall into and difficult to break. The latest AAA traffic safety survey reveals that many American drivers have developed hazardous habits, and it is up to lawmakers and law enforcement to tackle the problem. If they fail to act decisively, the nation’s roads will become even more dangerous in the years ahead.