AAA study shows improvements in drivers’ behaviors

Local News

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — For more than a decade, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been conducting a survey known as the “Traffic Safety Culture Index.”

AAA Northeast spokesperson Diana Gugliotta tells 12 News the study highlights gaps between drivers’ attitudes, perceptions and their actual driving behaviors.

The survey consists of drivers of varying ages and asks them to share honest information about their personal behaviors while behind the wheel in a self-report or self-documenting fashion.

Gugliotta said this year, they were very encouraged with the results. Red-light running was mentioned to have decreased within their self-reporting, along with several distracted-driving behaviors.

Drowsy driving also saw a decline in self-reporting within this study.

Gugliotta said the improvements don’t stop there, as driving under the influence of cannabis and alcohol decreased as well.

“It was probably most encouraging to see the data around impaired driving, because this is where there was almost a 46% decrease in self reports for driving after drinking and then a 33% decrease in reporting of driving after consuming cannabis,” Gugliotta said.

An interesting note, Gugliotta said, is that 2020 represented the highest number of motor vehicle fatalities that AAA Northeast has seen since 2007.

Gugliotta said that’s also after there was about a 13% decrease in total vehicle miles traveled. This represents over 400 billion miles traveled.

She said the cause of the increase in fatalities after digging deeper into the data showed most were due to aggressive driving and speeding in addition to a decrease in seatbelt use.

There was an improvement when it comes to speeding, however, Gugliotta said it continues to be a big problem on our roadways.

In regards to seatbelt usage, Massachusetts saw a significant decline, which is not good news.

Gugliotta said there was a roughly 77% seatbelt usage rate in Massachusetts compared to the national average, which is about 90%.

Here are some reminders to keep in mind while behind the wheel:

  • Stay alert
  • Always drive sober
  • Keep your speed down
  • Avoid using your cell phone
  • Invest in a hands-free device for your phone

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