Aggressive driving a factor in up to 56 percent of fatal crashes, AAA finds
More than half of deadly vehicle crashes involve one or more unsafe driving behaviors typically associated with aggressive driving, according to a new analysis released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data shows that as many as 56 percent of fatal crashes involve an unsafe behavior that could be characterized as aggressive, such as running a stop sign, failure to yield or illegal driving on the shoulder. Speeding is the most common contributing factor and is involved in nearly one in three deadly crashes, the study found.
Aggressive driving is one of America’s main traffic safety worries. Last year’s AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally-representative telephone survey, found nearly eight out of every 10 people surveyed rated aggressive drivers as a serious or extremely serious traffic problem.
However, in the same survey, many individuals reported driving in ways that could be deemed aggressive. For example, nearly half of drivers reported exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph on major highways in the past 30 days, and 15 percent even admitted exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph on neighborhood streets. This reflects the “Do as I Say, Not as I Do” attitude society has toward traffic safety.
“It’s easy to think ‘that other guy is the problem’–the one who runs someone off the road, tailgates or yells obscenities,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “In reality, examples of driving aggressively–any of which can lead to crashes, injuries and deaths–are all too common.”
The goal in releasing these findings is to educate motorists about the scope of aggressive driving, as well as encourage motorists to reevaluate their own driving behavior, and ultimately to improve this country’s traffic safety culture.
“If you find yourself driving slowly in the passing lane, tailgating, or doing other things to teach the other driver a lesson, you are also part of the problem,” he said.