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New Study: Young Drivers Take the Most Risks Behind the Wheel

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Updated July 31, 2020 | Auto Accidents |


A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety puts numbers to a problem many have suspected: Young drivers take the most risks behind the wheel compared to drivers of any other age. Based on surveys of more than 2,500 drivers, 88% of drivers between 19 and 24 years old admitted to engaging in at least one risky driving behavior during the previous thirty days.

Long-Running Survey

The findings were part of 2016’s Traffic Safety Culture Index, an ongoing effort to assess what Americans think of traffic safety and how they practice it. The index looks at all sorts of driving safety factors, including speed, distracted driving, seat belt use, and more.

This year’s survey, conducted toward the end of last summer, uncovered a lot of interesting but disturbing information about how drivers behave, including what the report’s authors characterize as a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude toward traffic safety. For example, while more than 92% said it was unacceptable to drive through a red light when they could have stopped safely, more than one-third of those same drivers admitted doing just that at least once in the past month.

Focus on Younger Drivers

The initial release of the report’s data focused on the attitudes and behaviors of one particular group: drivers aged 19 to 24. Drivers of this age group showed the highest amount of dangerous behavior, self-reporting that they engaged in risky actions behind the wheel 10% more often than any other age group.

Drivers in this group led in almost every unsafe behavior category. In the preceding 30 days, they were more likely to do the following:

  • Send a text or an email while driving
  • Read a text or an email while driving
  • Drive above the speed limit
  • Believe that it’s fine to speed in a school zone
  • Feel it’s acceptable to run a red light
  • Run a red light

However, they also won a category emphasizing self-awareness: They were more likely than drivers in other age groups to feel they were worse drivers than average.

Contact an Automobile Accident Attorney Today

It may not be fair to single out a particular group for unsafe driving behaviors. If you review the report, you’ll see that no group stands out as role models. But it’s important to recognize that these dangerous behaviors exist and that, statistically speaking, some drivers are more likely to put others at risk.

If you or a loved one have been injured as a result of a car accident, you are urged to contact the attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. An Indianapolis car accident lawyer from WKW can help you get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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