Most people agree that impaired driving is a growing problem in Connecticut and the rest of the country. However, many people disagree on what counts as problematic impaired driving and the punishment offenders should receive. For instance, people almost unanimously condemn drunk drivers for their actions. Meanwhile, they often treat drowsy drivers more sympathetically. Yet, both actions constitute impaired driving and can cost lives on the road.
In 2018, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety surveyed the traffic safety culture index. The survey identified what types of bad driving habits or actions people considered most dangerous. AAA noticed the development of a traffic safety culture where people did not always practice what they preached. Here are some examples of this:
- 6% percent believed that texting while driving was unacceptable, but 34.6% said they had done so in the past 30 days.
- 2% believed drowsy driving was unacceptable, but 30.8% admitted to driving while extremely tired in the past 30 days.
- Only 23.9% of drivers believed that driving 15 m.p.h. over the speed limit on the freeway was ever acceptable, but 50.3% admitted to doing so in the past 30 days.
- Of all the dangerous driving habits, people seemed most concerned about distracted driving, even though up to 60.5% of people used either a hand-held or hands-free device to carry on conversations while driving.
It may also come as some surprise that respondents expressed more concern about drugged drivers than drunk drivers. In the survey, 90.8% of people believed that driving after using illicit drugs was a very serious offense and a threat to the safety of other drivers on the road. When it came to drunk driving, 79.9% of respondents believed that even first-time offenders should use alcohol-ignition interlocks.
It is good that there is a general consensus on dangerous driving habits. However, until people begin to drive in alignment with their beliefs, serious motor crashes may continue to pose a threat to lives on the road.