Friday, February 26, 2016

Motorist Survey: They say one thing, do something else

In a recent survey conducted by AAA  Foundation for Traffic Safety motorists were asked their views on traffic safety and motorist behavior. Not surprisingly, many motorists admitted to acting in a dangerous manner while at the same time castigating others for similar behavior.

According to the Post article Why more than 1 million Americans have died in car crashes since 1990:
“When you do something dangerous time and time again without any negative consequences, it’s easy to become conditioned to repeat that same behavior,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “That’s why strong laws and sustained, high-visibility enforcement are so critical.”
  • Almost everyone thinks drinking and driving don’t mix, but 1 out of 8 drivers admitted that they have been close to or above the legal limit in the past year.
  • Almost 90 percent of people think texting or emailing while driving is dangerous, but 42 percent said they had read a text or email while driving in the past month.
  • Most people said that distracted driving has become a bigger problem in the past three years, but 70 percent said they had talked on the phone while driving in the past month.
  • Although speeding is a factor in about 10,000 deaths per year, close to half of those surveyed said they were guilty of it on freeways and residential streets.
  • Intersection collisions cause nearly 700 deaths and 125,000 injuries, and drivers deplore people who run red lights, but 39 percent of those surveyed said that in the past month they had run a light that had just turned red, even though they could have stopped safely.
  • Virtually everyone sees drowsy driving as a serious threat to their safety, but more than 30 percent said they have had trouble keeping their eyes open while driving in the past 30 days.
In the past few weeks I've been driving more than usual. Other driver's behavior seems to be getting worse. I drive the speed limit and I would guess that over 80% of other drivers are exceeding the speed limit. Many will tailgate and pass dangerously. Even when conditions are bad with water and snow and ice on roads motorists were driving faster than was safe. Almost no one stops at red lights when turning right or at STOP signs.

Maybe police have given up. I think our political leaders need to use the bully pulpit and ask motorists to begin to obey the law and drive more safely. It's better for them and safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

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