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Motoring Issues

AAA poll takes the pulse of readers on important transportation topics.

More than 1,000 AAA members responded to a poll in the January/February issue of the AAA Southern Traveler about traffic safety issues and transportation concerns. State and federal legislators are being advised by AAA of the opinions expressed by its members in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi who responded to the poll.

HIGHWAY FUNDING

Studies have shown that not enough is being spent on our highway system to properly maintain it and provide for needed improvements to enhance safety and reduce congestion. When we asked if additional revenue is needed for highway maintenance and improvements, 84 percent of the respondents replied “yes,” which is up over the 73 percent answering “yes” in a similar poll two years ago.

Raising the state motor fuel tax was cited as the least objectionable way to get additional revenue for roadway improvements. Among the other potential revenue generators, the least preferred was imposing a fee on miles driven. The responses for the least objectionable way to raise more revenue included:

Increase the motor fuel tax rate 46%
Place a toll on the roads I drive 23
Increase the general sales tax 17
Impose a fee on miles driven 14

HIGHWAY PRIORITIES

The priorities for how motorists want their highway dollars spent hasn't changed much. Similar to previous polls, members listed resurfacing existing four-lane roads as their No. 1 priority. The rest of their rankings included:

Resurfacing existing four-lane roads 28%
Four-laning existing two-lane roads 24
Eliminating commuter bottlenecks 24
Adding more safety features 18
Widening of secondary road bridges 6

HIGHWAY CONDITIONS

Compared to three years ago, motorists rated the condition of state highways in their area as:

Improved . 23%
Stayed the same 37
Declined 40

AAA members in Arkansas were the most encouraged by the condition of their roads, as 29 percent of respondents in Arkansas rated their roads as improved.

Respondents from Louisiana and Mississippi were the most critical of their roads, with 47 percent in Louisiana rating their roads as having declined and 40 percent in Mississippi having the same assessment.

SAFETY CONCERNS

Of the five safety concerns from which motorists could select as their No. 1 concern in the poll, “distracted drivers” was far and away their focus. Their concerns included:

Distracted drivers 53%
Drunk drivers 17
Aggressive drivers 14
Large trucks 9
Road conditions 6

GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS

With their main safety concern distracted drivers, motorists are anxious to have something done. More than 94 percent “strongly agreed” with having a law against reading, typing, or sending a text while driving for all drivers.

In addition, 73 percent “strongly agreed” with having a law against using a hand-held phone while driving, and 49 percent wanted a law banning any use of cell phones while driving.

 

March/April 2016 Issue


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