A new survey has been carried out in the US that make for worrying reading concerning the poor state of road safety. This has been compiled the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and it reveals that the standard of driving declined during the pandemic.
Of particular concern was that poor drivers actually got worse. They were more likely to speed, more likely to commit DUI offences and more likely to ignore seatbelt use. The data reveals why the number of crashes and road fatalities climbed during the pandemic, despite that fact that the total distances travelled declined.
The high risk drivers also drove more during the pandemic, taking advantage of quieter roads, while the safer drivers drove less according to the AAA’s survey. Of note is that middle-aged female drivers drove far less in the US during the pandemic, a lower risk group for crashes as a whole. Meanwhile, the younger male drivers who are a higher risk group drove more during the pandemic according to the AAA study.
And the drivers who exhibit risky behaviour behind the wheel were twice as likely to text and twice as likely to change lanes aggressively. They were over 44% more likely to drive at excessive speed and 80% more likely to run red lights. In addition, they were 133% more likely to ignore seatbelt use and three times as likely to commit a DUI offence, through the use of alcohol or drugs. Distracted driving from cellphone use at the wheel is also known to be a key problem amongst young drivers. Overall, just 4% of the young male drivers increased their driving during the pandemic, highlighting that many of those who did were amongst the most dangerous.
Of note is that enforcement was reduced during the pandemic, partly explaining why poor drivers felt enabled to commit driving offences. For many, the quieter roads may also have proved a temptation.