Study: Vast majority of young drivers engage in risky behaviors

A recent AAA study says that 88 percent of young drivers regularly engage in risky behavior while driving.

Young drivers are often portrayed as being reckless and distracted while behind the wheel. Now, a study by the AAA suggests that there may be more than a grain of truth behind those portrayals. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that study found that more than 88 percent of young drivers admit to engaging in risky behaviors, such as texting, speeding, or running a red light, within the past month. The study comes as fatal traffic accidents across the country continue to spike and as distracted driving becomes a bigger danger on Pennsylvania's roads and highways.

Young drivers' behavior

According to the AAA survey, 88.4 percent of drivers aged 19 to 24 said they had either texted, run a red light, or been speeding while behind the wheel in the last 30 days. As the Allentown Morning Call reports, that same group was also 1.6 times more likely than other drivers to check a text message and more than twice as likely to send one while driving. Additionally, half of young drivers say they have run a red light within the past 30 days even though they could have safely stopped at the time.

Those figures are certainly alarming, but it's important to point out that older drivers, while not quite as bad as young drivers, are still guilty of engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel. For example, over 75 percent of drivers aged 40 to 59 admitted to texting, speeding, or running a red light in the past month. Even among drivers aged 60 to 74, who were the safest group surveyed, more than 67 percent were guilty of engaging in the same dangerous driving behaviors.

Roads becoming less safe

The figures are especially worrying given the rising number of injuries and deaths on the nation's roads. Traffic deaths increased by 14 percent for 2015 and 2016, for example, based on National Safety Council figures, which is the steepest increase since the 1960s. Given that improved engineering should be making cars safer, distracted driving is widely believed to be a major factor behind the increase in fatalities.

In Pennsylvania there were over 14,800 accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2015 alone, which resulted in 66 deaths. Additionally, distracted driving accounted for 11 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the state in the past five years. It is important to point out, however, that official figures often underestimate the true number of distracted driving accidents since many drivers refuse to admit that they were distracted prior to an accident.

Personal injury law

An accident can cause injuries that can take months and even years to heal. Those injuries can cause not only physical and emotional pain, but financial pain as well. Anybody who has been injured in an accident should contact a personal injury attorney today. An experienced attorney at Ches-Mont Personal Injury Law Center, LLC., can guide accident victims through their legal options, including by helping them pursue claims for possible financial compensation.