It’s true: Millennial drivers are particularly prone to distracted driving, and it’s not just because of cell phones. AAA recently reported several startling statistics from a recent study by the Foundation for Traffic Safety, showing that millennial drivers are particularly dangerous distracted drivers.
Worst-Behaved U.S. Drivers
In fact, the AAA report places millennial drivers at the very top of their list of worst-behaved drivers on U.S. roads. The Foundation found that 88 percent of millennial drivers had engaged in at least one risky driving behavior in the previous 30 days, including texting behind the wheel, running a red light, or speeding. Any of these risky driving behaviors increases the likelihood that a driver will cause a car accident. This startling statistic follows a dramatic rise in traffic fatalities overall—over seven percent in 2015, which constitutes the most significant increase in fifty years.
The Foundation’s director shared that most drivers in the 19 to 24-year-old age group don’t see a problem with these risky driving activities. He went on to address the critical need to help these young drivers understand that texting, speeding, and running red lights are all potentially deadly habits that are significantly contributing to our nation’s rising rate of traffic fatalities. Some serious safety education is clearly in order.
Dangerous Millennial Driving Habits
Because of their propensity to engage in risky driving behaviors, millennial drivers are among the most dangerous drivers out there. The top three types of dangerous driving habits that millennials favor include:
Texting Behind the Wheel
Texting while driving is exceedingly dangerous. In fact, the U.S. government has devoted an entire website to the topic of distracted driving, distraction.gov, and texting is the jewel in the crown of distracted driving. Distracted driving is broken down into three distinct categories that include visual distractions, cognitive distractions, and manual distractions. Texting manages to tidily meld all three brands of distraction into one activity. Drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 (millennials) are 1.6 times more likely than all other drivers to self-report having read a text or email while driving in the previous 30 days. Finally, this age group was almost twice as likely than all other drivers to self-report as having texted or emailed while driving.
Millennials are also more likely to speed. Drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 are 1.4 times more likely than all other drivers to self-report as having driven at least 10 miles per hour over the posted speed limit on a residential street. About 12 percent of these millennial drivers reported that they didn’t see anything wrong with driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to fewer than 5 percent of all other drivers. However, speeding is a form of aggressive driving that endangers everyone sharing the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that speeding contributed to more than one-quarter of all traffic fatalities in 2016.
Running Red Lights
Running red lights is a dangerous habit that can be deadly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that 771 people were killed and nearly 140,000 people injured by drivers who ran red lights in 2015. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and drivers and passengers in other vehicles—not in the vehicle that ran the red light—account for more than half of these fatalities. Another Insurance Institute study found that drivers who ignored traffic controls, including red lights and stop signs, are the most common cause of urban car accidents—and that 39 percent of these accidents lead to injuries. Almost 50 percent of millennials aged 19 to 24 self-reported having driven through a just-turned-red light for which they could have safely stopped, compared to 36 percent of all other drivers. Finally, 14 percent of these young drivers declared that they found it acceptable to cruise through lights that had just turned red – compared to only 6 percent of all drivers.
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