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Young millennials top list of worst-behaved drivers

Report highlights group's penchant for texting and driving, other risky habits

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A new report finds that 88 percent of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the last 30 days, earning them top spot among worst-behaved U.S. drivers.

Of all of the ages surveyed, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers ages 19 to 24 had the highest percentage of reported risky behavior, including texting while driving, running red lights or speeding in the last 30 days.

“Some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

The foundation said the these findings come as U.S. traffic deaths rose to 35,092 in 2015, an increase of more than 7 percent, the largest single-year increase in five decades. However, those traffic fatality statistics are not broken down by the ages of drivers involved in fatal crashes.

By rank and by age group, the percentage of drivers who reported engaging in speeding, red light running or texting behind the wheel in the last 30 days include:

  • Drivers ages 19-24: 88.4 percent
  • Drivers ages 25-39: 79.2 percent
  • Drivers ages 40-59: 75.2 percent
  • Drivers ages 16-18: 69.3 percent
  • Drivers ages 75 plus: 69.1 percent
  • Drivers ages 60-74: 67.3 percent  
  • Texting while driving

    • Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to report having read a text message or email while driving in the last 30 days (66.1 percent vs. 40.2 percent).
    • Drivers ages 19-24 were nearly twice as likely as all drivers to report having typed or sent a text message or email while driving (59.3 percent vs. 31.4 percent).

    Speeding

    • Drivers ages 19-24 were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to report having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
    • Nearly 12 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to fewer than 5 percent of all drivers.

    Red-light running

    • Nearly 50 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported driving through a light that had just turned red - when they could have stopped safely, compared to 36 percent of all drivers.
    • Nearly 14 percent of drivers ages 19-24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive through a light that just turned red, when they could have stopped safely, compared to about 6 percent of all drivers.

    The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which identifies attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. The survey data is from a sample of 2,511 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the last 30 days. 


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