Nearly nine out of ten drivers engage in risky behavior behind the wheel.
Most car accidents are caused by human error – and considering how many drivers are making errors on the roads every day, that’s not at all surprising.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a whopping 87 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel within the last 30 days. That’s in spite of the fact that many of those drivers have themselves been involved in accidents, or were close with someone injured or killed in an accident.
Among the most common unsafe behaviors was talking on a cell phone while driving. That’s legal here in Oklahoma, but still a common cause of car accidents – and if it causes a motorist to drive unsafely, illegal under the general distracted driving law. Forty-two percent of drivers admitted to texting while driving, which is illegal in Oklahoma.
Nearly half of drivers admitted to speeding by a significant amount – 15 mph over the speed limit on freeways and 10 mph over on residential streets. Speeding not only makes accidents more likely but also contributes to severe injuries and property damage.
Just under a third of respondents admitted to driving while extremely tired, which research has shown is at least as dangerous as driving drunk. Actual drunk driving was somewhat less common, but one in eight drivers still admitted to driving when they may have been at or near the legal limit.
Other common risky behaviors included running red lights and failing to wear seat belts.
Indifference, Lack of Perspective to Blame for Unsafe Driving
According to AAA, the majority of motorists believe that they are more careful than others on the road – even though the vast majority also admit to at least some instances of unsafe driving. That means most drivers are indifferent to the ways they put themselves and others at risk.
Manufacturers, law enforcement and regulatory agencies all have a role to play in keeping the roads safer. Ultimately, however, every motorist has a responsibility to drive safely, pay attention to the road and keep others safe. When negligent motorists cause others to be injured or killed, the victims and their families have the right to seek justice.