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AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Survey Points to ‘Culture of Indifference’ Among Drivers

An annual survey of U.S. drivers reveals some traffic safety trends and attitudes that could be good for business in the collision repair industry.

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An annual survey of U.S. drivers reveals some traffic safety trends and attitudes that could be good for business in the collision repair industry.

For example, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2016 Traffic Safety Culture Index found that while 78 percent of drivers believe that texting and driving is dangerous, nearly one in three drivers (31 percent) admitted to doing it within the past month.

“Although many drivers seem to think traffic safety is important generally, the survey findings reveal some aspect of the current traffic safety culture that might be categorized as a culture of indifference, with drivers effectively saying, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’” the foundation says in the report.

Another data point that raised the foundation’s eyebrows in the report: Some 83 percent of drivers believe that they drive somewhat or much more carefully than other drivers, “which indicates that many drivers overestimate how carefully they drive.” Less than 1 percent of motorists say they drive somewhat or much less carefully than most other drivers.

Among other survey findings:

  • Nearly 92 percent of drivers believe that distracted drivers are a bigger problem today than they were three years ago.
  • Nearly 60 percent of 19- to 24-year-olds said they had sent a text message or email within the past month, while 66 percent said they had read a text message or email within the past month.
  • Drivers in the 19- to 24-year-old range were most likely to say that it’s acceptable to run red lights.
  • Nearly half of drivers (45.6 percent) said they had driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway in the past month, and nearly 14 percent said they did so fairly often or regularly.

The market-research firm GfK conducted the survey between Aug. 25 and Sept. 6, 2016. More than 2,500 people responded to the survey.

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