July 29, 2009

Survey: 35 percent feel less safe driving

Although U.S. vehicle crashes have declined, 35 percent of drivers say they feel less safe than five years ago, officials of a vehicle safety group said.

The second-annual Traffic Safety Culture Index released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety said 80 percent of motorists rating distracted driving as a very serious threat to their safety.

However, more than half of those who admitted to reading or sending text messages or e-mails while driving acknowledged they were much more likely to have an accident.

Over the past 25 years, motor vehicle crashes have, prematurely, violently and tragically ended the lives of 1 million Americans -- killing more of our children, teens and young adults than any other single cause, Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation. That's one death every 13 minutes.

The Traffic Safety Culture Index also said:

-- 90 percent said people driving after drinking alcohol was a very serious threat; 87 percent said the same about text messaging or e-mailing.

-- More than two-thirds admitted to talking on a cell phone and 21 percent admitted to reading or sending a text message or e-mail while driving in the past month.

The random telephone survey by Abt SRBI Inc. of 2,501 U.S. adults April 15-May 12 has a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.