After years of progress, research shows a troubling reversal.
A new survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has revealed a troubling trend in roadway safety, with the number of dangerous driving behaviors rising after declining steadily between 2018 and 2020.
Unsafe practices such as speeding, running red lights, drowsy driving, and operating vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or cannabis have all seen an increase in recent years, the study revealed, as negligent drivers continue to put themselves and others at risk of being injured or killed in car accidents.
In particular, there was a 24% increase in the number of people who admitted to driving after drinking enough alcohol that they felt over the legal limit. Additionally, more than 13% of motorists have reported driving within an hour of consuming cannabis. These figures show that it is essential for people to remain vigilant about safe driving habits to reduce the risk of car accidents and protect themselves and others.
"The reversal in the frequency of U.S. drivers engaging in risky driving behavior is disturbing," said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation. "While drivers acknowledge that certain activities behind the wheel – like speeding and driving impaired, are not safe, many still engage in these activities anyway."
Key takeaways from the AAA survey
The survey of 2,657 U.S. licensed drivers revealed that 26% of respondents admitted to texting while driving at least once in the 30 days prior to answering the survey questions, and 23% admitted to aggressive driving.
These results coincide with a recent spike in traffic fatalities: nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2021, a 10.5% increase from 2020.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this can be primarily attributed to an increase in unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding, alcohol impairment, and not using seat belts.
The data suggest that drivers need to take greater precautions on the roads if these rates are going to decrease. "We must be aware of the serious consequences of dangerous driving behaviors and change course," Dr. Yang said.
In 2022, fatal crashes spiked in Delaware.
The Delaware State Police have announced that they will have a zero-tolerance policy for speeders in 2023. This follows the 165 traffic deaths that were reported in 2022, the highest amount recorded in 30 years. After examining the factors that lead to these deaths, it was determined that distracted driving and speeding significantly contributed to the state's serious and fatal crashes. Despite efforts to increase awareness through safety campaigns, these numbers remain unacceptably high.
"Most recent data shows that unfortunately, we have, I believe, tied the record here at 165 traffic fatalities which occurred in 1988," said Jason Coleman with the state Office of Highway Safety. "That's why OHS is making its top priority to continue to focus on changing those bad driving behaviors and to make sure that we're getting our message out to the public to take a proactive approach. Speed is definitely one of the things that we have…noticed an increase and made it one of our priority focus areas. It's just not acceptable."
Route 1, I-495, I-95, Route 9, Route 113, and Route 13 were all mentioned as problem areas where police will increase enforcement efforts and have a zero-tolerance policy with regard to speeding.
Car accident lawyers who stand up for Delaware's injured
If you were hit and injured by a negligent driver in Georgetown or Sussex County, Delaware, it's important to take legal action as soon as possible to protect your rights—evidence and memories can easily be lost over time, and the sooner you know your legal rights and options, the better.
At Gill, Welsh, and Chamberlain, P.A., our attorneys are well-versed in personal injury law and will leave no stone unturned to obtain the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related costs. To learn more about how an experienced Georgetown, DE, car accident lawyer can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.