- JOHN METCALFE
- 10:22 AM ET
When it comes to American drivers who blow red lights, shred the speed limit, or text behind the wheel, Millennials really are the worst. A full 88 percent of motorists aged 19 to 24 have committed one of these road sins in the last month, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The foundation has called out the age group as the “worst-behaved U.S. drivers” in the midst of a startling rise in driver mortality. Traffic deaths surged to 35,092 in 2015—about 2,400 more than the year prior—and while 2016’s numbers are preliminary, deaths were already up 10 percent by mid-year. The trend had the director of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration fretting in October: “We have an immediate crisis on our hands, and we also have a long-term challenge.”
After reading the AAA report, a dumb-but-gut reaction to that challenge might be to confiscate the licenses of young motorists. “Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” foundation head David Yang says in a press release. Here are details from the report, which is based on a survey of 2,511 drivers:
- Drivers ages 19 to 24 were nearly twice as likely as all drivers to report having typed or sent a text message or e-mail while driving (59.3 percent vs. 31.4 percent).
- Drivers ages 19 to 24 were 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to report having driven 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
- Nearly 12 percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 reported feeling that it is acceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, compared to less than 5 percent of all drivers.
- Nearly 50 percent of drivers ages 19 to 24 reported driving through a light that had just turned red when they could have stopped safely, compared to 36 percent of all drivers.