In 2014, close to 33,000 people in the United States died in a motor vehicle accident. In 2015, the death rate is expected to be around nine percent higher than it was in 2014. With so many accidents happening, the majority of motorists on the road know someone who has been hurt or have been personally affected by a collision. One in five drivers said they have been in a crash which caused serious enough injuries in at least one victim to necessitate hospitalization of the victim. One in three drivers indicate they have had someone they know, such as a friend or a family member, sustain serious injuries or die as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Drivers should be personally familiar with car accident losses and damages and should do everything they can to avoid causing collisions to occur. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Most drivers know certain behaviors are high-risk, and yet continue to do these things anyway.
Drivers do things they know are dangerous because they believe the actions are only high risk when other motorists do them. Drivers discount the personal dangers of doing these actions, especially as they repeatedly engage in dangerous behaviors and nothing bad happens to them. They begin to feel a false sense of security, and to think they are not going to be the ones to cause accidents from taking risks, even though the reality is they could cause a crash at any time.
Most Drivers Taking Unnecessary Risks & Increasing Car Accident Dangers
A recent study conducted by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed the extent to which drivers discount the dangers of high-risk behaviors they are engaging in behind the wheel. In the study, motorists were asked to report on whether they’d done certain dangerous activities while driving over the course of the past month.
A total of 87 percent of drivers who responded to the survey admitted they had done at least one dangerous thing behind the wheel over the 30 days before answering the questions. For example, 70 percent said they had used their cell phone while driving despite the fact 80 percent indicated cell phone use was dangerous and was a bigger problem than it was three years ago. Other behaviors the drivers admitted to engaging in included:
- Driving while drowsy, to the point where they were dozing off while behind the wheel.
- Driving while they were close to, or at, the legal limit for alcohol impairment.
- Driving or riding as a passenger in a car without wearing a seat belt.
- Speeding, including exceeding the posted limit on a highway by at least 15 miles per hour.
Most drivers said they did some of these high-risk behaviors frequently. For example, 38 percent said they had gone over the speed limit on highways and 15 percent said they regularly went at least 15 miles per hour faster than they were allowed. As long as motorists continue to do things they know are dangerous, the accident rate is unlikely to ever fall significantly and people will continue to lose their lives due to negligent actions.