AAA News Release: 8/22/2013




Survey Results Come as Road Deaths Increase for First Time in Seven Years


WASHINGTON, D. C. (Thursday, August 22, 2013) – More than 34,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2012 and a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that motorists may becoming complacent about dangerous driving behaviors. Call it “Do as I say, not as I do.”


Americans are less likely to perceive a serious threat from dangerous driving behaviors such as drunk, aggressive or drowsy driving, according to a AAA analysis of four years of public surveys. The decreased concern is accompanied by an estimated 5.3 percent increase in annual traffic fatalities, the first increase in seven years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.


“Although the odds of dying in a car crash are one in 108, motorists are admitting to engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, yet are still condemning others for the same actions. It’s a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude and a dangerous one for all who use the roads,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. 


Survey results during the previous four years show decreasing concern for dangerous driving behaviors:

·         The number of people who believe driving after drinking is a serious threat declined from a near universal 90 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2012.

·         The number of people who consider drowsy driving a very serious threat declined from 71 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2012.

·         The number of people who believe that texting or emailing while driving is a very serious threat declined from 87 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2012. The number of people who admit to texting while driving increased from 21 percent to 26 percent during the same period.

·         The number of people who consider red-light running to be completely unacceptable declined from 77 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2012. More than one-third (38 percent) admitted to running a red light within the previous month.


“We have made great strides in recent years to reduce road deaths, but there are still too many needless fatalities caused by dangerous driving,” said Jake Nelson, AAA director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “It is clear that more must be done to address the dangers of drunk, aggressive and drowsy driving to stem this concerning trend.” 


Someone dies on America’s roadways every 15 minutes. Fatalities include drivers, passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and every other kind of road user. Car crashes affect young people disproportionately by killing more people aged 5-34 than any other cause of death.  More than 2.3 million people annually also suffer serious injuries from crashes.


The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety analyzed four years (2009-2012) of survey data collected for the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which tracks how the public’s views and perceptions of traffic safety issues change over time. More than 11,000 surveys were administered to Americans aged 16 and up from 2009-2012 to determine the results.


Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit for more information on this and other research.


AAA Mid-Atlantic advocates on behalf of its nearly four million members in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It provides a wide range of personal insurance, travel, financial and automotive services through its 50-plus retail branches, regional operations centers, and the Internet.  For more information, please visit our web site at .      


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Contact: John Townsend or Lon Anderson
Phone: (202) 481-6820

Contact: Jeanette Tejeda de Gomez