Time lapse photo of a highway outside Atlanta, Ga.

Risky Driving Behaviors Continue to Rise

Risky driving habits like speeding and driving under the influence are becoming more likely to occur on the nation’s roads, according to a new report.

The report from AAA released this month found that dangerous behaviors increased from 2020 to 2021. 

Driving behavior worsened with the onset of the Covid pandemic but has not improved as traffic volumes normalized.

“The reversal in the frequency of U.S. drivers engaging in risky behaviors is disturbing,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, which authored the report. “… We must be aware of the serious consequences of dangerous driving behaviors and change course.”

The types of behaviors drivers admitted to include:

  • Speeding
  • Red-light running
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving impaired on cannabis or alcohol
  • Texting, calling, or emailing while driving
  • Aggressive driving

The report shows that nearly 24% of drivers admitted to getting behind the wheel after drinking over the legal limit.

In the report, drivers acknowledged that their friends or family would disapprove of the behaviors.

AAA recommends the following safety tips for drivers:

  • Keep your cellphone out of sight, turn it to airplane mode, or utilize blocking features like Apple’s Do Not Disturb.
  • Slow down and observe the speed limit
  • Don’t drive drowsy by staying alert, and stop driving if you become sleepy.
  • Drive sober. If you have marijuana or alcohol, don’t drive. 
  • Use your seat belt for every ride. 

As a result of behaviors like speeding, drunk driving, and not using seatbelts, traffic fatalities have risen 10.5% from the year prior, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some insurance industry observers have noted that personal auto lines have poorly performed for carriers, which is partly due to unsafe driving. However, many other factors, including inflation, are pushing auto insurance rates even higher.