AAA Survey: Minnesota drivers both distracted, stressed behind the wheel
July 31, 2008
Watch out, Minnesota; the Twin Cities are rampant with young, distracted drivers. AAA Minneapolis has released a new study in which respondents simultaneously admit to driving while distracted and getting stressed out by distracted drivers.
The survey, titled "Twin Cities Driving Behavior," found that 77 percent of drivers ages 18 to 34 in the Twin Cities area eat while driving, 70 percent use cell phones while driving, and 33 percent text while driving. By the same token, though, 60 percent of drivers ages 18 to 54 said they felt stressed out by distracted drivers on the road with them. Not only that, but distracted drivers rated higher as a cause of behind-the-wheel anxiety for survey respondents than tailgaters, aggressive drivers, slow drivers, people who change lanes unsafely, poor road conditions or construction delays. The survey also found that 10 percent more men than women admitted to texting while driving.
"Our driving survey results are especially eye-opening," said Steve Frank, president and CEO of AAA Minneapolis, "given that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute have determined that 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involve some form of driver distraction - from using a cell phone to applying make-up and reading."
Non-Minnesota residents can stop laughing now. The results of this latest survey mirror trends nationwide. According to the NHTSA's National Center for Statistics and Analysis, more than 1 million drivers at any given time during the day nationwide were using cell phones. A more recent insurance survey found even more worrysome results: 80 percent of drivers admitted to drinking non-alcoholic beverages while driving, 73 percent talked on their cell phones, 68 percent ate snacks, 41 percent ate whole meals, 31 percent daydreamed, 19 percent fixed their hair, 12 percent put on or fixed their make-up and 5 percent read a magazine or newspaper.
"Our organization was startled to learn more than 70 percent of young adults in the Twin Cities are multitasking, even text messaging and dialing cell phone numbers, while driving," said Frank. "AAA Minneapolis supports Minnesota's new state law prohibiting text messaging while driving, which goes into effect August 1. But clearly, the crisis of distracted driving - which leads to hundreds of traffic crashes and driving deaths each year - is a big issue in the Twin Cities, which includes text messaging while on the road."
It's not all bad news for Twin Cities drivers, though. 91 percent of survey respondents claimed to "always" wear their seat belts while driving or riding in a vehicle, a rate 10 percent higher than the NHTSA's 2007 national seat belt use average. So, while Twin Cities drivers may appear more likely to get in distraction-caused crashes, they'll at least be less likely to get killed in said crashes.
Source: AAA Minneapolis