AAA’s Foundation for
Traffic Safety released the results of a four year study revealing that
Americans have become less concerned about the dangers of certain driving
tactics. This is troubling for several reasons. First, as I have written on
this blog multiple times, texting and emailing while driving has become an
epidemic in this country and is considered as dangerous as drinking and
driving. The same can be said about driving without enough sleep. Legislatures
(including Illinois) have stepped up to the plate and enacted laws banning
distracted driving and have increased penalties. Further, the major cell phone
companies have joined together with campaigns such as “It Can Wait,”
to try and curb texting and driving. This is what is so troubling: why – –
despite new laws and publicity – – are drivers in this country becoming less
concerned about these issues?
results during the previous four years show decreasing concern for dangerous
number of people who believe drinking and driving is a serious threat declined
from a near universal 90 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2012.
number of people who consider drowsy driving a very serious threat declined
from 71 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2012.
number of people who believe that texting or emailing while driving is a very
serious threat declined from 87 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2012. The
number of people who admit to texting while driving increased from 21 percent to 26 percent during the same
number of people who consider red-light running to be completely unacceptable
declined from 77 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 20012.
made great strides in recent years to reduce road deaths, but there are still
too many needless fatalities caused by dangerous driving,” said Jake Nelson,
AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “It is clear that more
must be done to address the dangers of drunk, aggressive and drowsy driving to
stem this concerning trend.”
are we to make of this study? How much more can legislatures do to prevent this
type of behavior? Suspend licenses? That may seem a little drastic but what if
the number of distracted traffic accidents do not decrease after the new laws
go into effect after January 1. These are issues both the Illinois legislature
and cell phone companies will have to look at.