According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), risky behaviors by individuals are the main cause of vehicle crashes throughout the world. In an effort to identify the factors surrounding the dangerous behaviors of drivers, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Transportation (OTS) retained market research and strategic consulting company Corona Insights to conduct a telephone survey of Minnesota residents in 2014. It is expected that a more in depth evaluation of the data gathered will be conducted to provide insight to help reduce the occurrence of risky behaviors that cause car accidents.
The survey evaluated 1,570 individuals in the state. Of those, 862 were considered to be high-risk drivers, 208 were placed in the moderate risk category, and 500 were low-risk. Some of the key findings of the survey include:
1. Drivers under the age of 35 make up almost half of the high-risk population.
In fact, more than 50 percent of drivers who text or speed are under 35, and the average age of drivers who both text and speed is 31. Although the distribution of drivers who drink or fail to use their seatbelts is more evenly spread across age groups, even these categories of risky behaviors seem to tilt toward younger drivers. The average age of individuals who perform three or more risky driving behaviors is just 32.
2. Men are twice as likely as females to belong to the group of high-risk drivers.
Additionally, male drivers are three times more likely to operate a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, and three times more likely than women to exhibit three or more risky driving behaviors. The number of drivers who text is almost evenly split between men and women. For those who text and speed, however, women are offenders slightly more often.
3. Speeding is a major factor in the risk for car crashes
Although speeders are 60 percent more likely to become involved in a car accident, they are often unconcerned with the consequences of driving too fast. According to the survey, 22 percent of speeders are not worried about their risk for crashes, and drivers who speed are less likely to be concerned about causing injuries or death to others.
4. The perceptions of individuals who drive under the influence of alcohol is deeply concerning
The survey revealed that 15 percent of drivers who drink are not worried about becoming involved in a car crash or facing legal consequences for their actions, and the majority don’t even view their behavior as risky. These drivers often describe themselves as “careful” drivers, and many believe that they can function well after a few drinks. The average drinking driver believes that he or she can consumer about three drinks and still function well enough to drive safely, and out of the drivers who admitted to driving after two or more drinks, a disturbing 25 percent say they could safely drive after four or more alcoholic beverages.
5. High-risk individuals tend to believe they are above average drivers and they tend to minimize their risk
Approximately 53 percent of high-risk drivers believe their driving is above average while just 4 percent believe that their behaviors raise the risk for being involved in a crash.
The Most Common Risky Behaviors that Lead to Car Accidents
A Minnesota car accident lawyer will typically see numerous vehicle crash cases that involve at least one type of risky behavior, but some acts are more common than others. According to the OTS report, the most common types of risky driving behaviors include:
Texting and Internet Use
Texting and accessing the internet while driving appears to be the most common risky behavior among Minnesota drivers who were surveyed. Of those questioned, approximately 29 percent admitted to texting or accessing the internet while driving within the last 30 days. Texting and internet use tends to be common in conjunction with other risky behaviors as well. According to the survey, about 43 percent of those who drive under the influence, 44 percent of those who speed, and 29 percent of seat belt violators also admit to texting.
Approximately one-third of speeders have been involved in at least one motor vehicle crash in the last three years, making speeding the most risky behavior group of all. Since speeding amplifies the risk for significant injuries and property damage, it is also identified as one of the most dangerous driving behaviors.
In 2015, driving while intoxicated was related to 23 percent of all traffic fatalities in Minnesota, and 33 percent of car crash fatalities were alcohol-related. Additionally, about 2,203 (7 percent) of traffic crash injuries in the state were related to alcohol. In the United States, there is one alcohol-related traffic fatality about every 53 minutes.
Contact the Car Accident Attorneys a Kohlmeyer Hagen
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a distracted driver? If so, contact the car accident attorneys at Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Offices today for a consultation. Or call our phone at, 507-625-5000.