Safety survey reveals attitudes about leading risk factors for North Carolina car accidents

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has issued its third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which offers a glimpse into how well motorists are heeding the warnings when it comes to some of the nation’s leading traffic risks.

Our Raleigh, North Carolina injury attorneys frequently post here about the dangers associated with drunk driving, cell phone use by drivers, speeding, aggressive driving and other poor driving habits. Generally, the cultural index shows that drivers understand the risks, even if they ignore them.
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While traffic accidents have declined in recent years, they are still the leading cause of death for those under the age of 34. A staggering 1 million motorists have been killed in traffic accidents in the past 25 years. Or an average of 93 lives a day lost to motor vehicle accidents.

“This third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index again finds that in some regards our society does appear to value safety or at least is concerned about certain safety issues” the Foundation said. “This survey also highlights some aspects of the current traffic safety culture that might be characterized most appropriately as a culture of indifference.”

That attitude is most prevalent with the issue of cell phone use and text messaging by drivers, which motorists continue to cite as a leading safety risk and yet continue to drive and use their phones anyway.

Among the findings:

Crash Experience:
Half of Americans have been involved in a serious accident or has a close friend or relative who has.

Safety Perception:
17 percent fewer motorists feel safe than just a year ago. More than half feel less safe than five years ago. Most cite distracted driving as the primary reason.

Drinking and Driving: Virtually all drivers view drinking and driving as a serious threat. Fewer than 2 percent admit to doing so in the last month. Nearly all drivers favor ignition interlock requirements for repeat DUI offenders, while two-thirds favor requiring the devices for first-time offenders.

Cell phone use and text messaging:
More than two-thirds of all drivers acknowledge talking on their cell phone while behind the wheel during the last month. One-third do so regularly. Most view texting and e-mailing as a serious threat to safety, however 1 in 4 admit to doing so anyway. Two-thirds support restricting hand-held cell phone use by drivers.

Speeding:
Nearly half of all drivers admit to driving 15 mph or more over the speed limit on the freeway in the last month — one-third consider it okay to do so. Far fewer would speed on a residential street.

Red-light Running:
Most view red-light running as dangerous, yet one-third admit to doing so in the last month.

Drowsy Driving: Most view it as extremely hazardous. Yet 1 in 4 admit to driving in the last month while so tired they could barely keep their eyes open.

Seat belt use:
Three-quarters of motorists report wearing seat belts at all times. Two-thirds support law enforcement efforts to ticket drivers who do not buckle up.

If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee & Smith today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965.Serving all of North and South Carolina, including Shelby, Statesville, Thomasville and Winston-Salem.

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