Many millennials may have not grown out of their risky driving habits.
According to a new report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the youngest millennials, those 19 to 24 years old, topped the list of the worst-behaved U.S. drivers, with 88 percent of them having engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days.
The dangerous behaviors included texting while driving, red-light running and speeding. Not surprisingly, if you drive around South Florida, more than two-thirds of all age groups didn’t behave behind the wheel.
Here’s the breakdown for those engaged in such risky behavior:
▪ Ages 19-24 - 88.4 percent
▪ 25-39 - 79.2 percent
▪ 40-59 - 75.2 percent
▪ 16-18 - 69.3 percent
▪ 75+ - 69.1 percent
▪ 60-74 - 67.3 percent
“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director, said in a statement. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”
These numbers are especially alarming because U.S. traffic deaths rose by more than 7 percent, to 35,092 in 2015, the largest single-year increase in five decades.
The 19- to 24-year-olds topped the list of driving misbehavior on all counts. When compared to all drivers, they were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to report having read a text message or e-mail while driving in the last 30 days, 66.1 percent vs. 40.2 percent. They also were nearly twice as likely as all drivers to report having typed or sent a text message or e-mail while driving.
As for speeding, the young millennials were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to report having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street, with almost 12 percent of them saying it was acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to less than 5 percent of all drivers.
What’s more, 50 percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 — compared to 36 percent of all drivers —reported driving through a light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely.
“Too often we see what can happen as a result of underestimating risk while driving,” said Amy Stracke, AAA – The Auto Club Group managing director for traffic safety advocacy. “Change starts with our own behavior. We need to set a good example by following speed limits, putting the phone down and fully focusing on the task of driving.”
The findings come from the AAA Foundation’s annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, which was first issued in 2008.