By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics
Since 2008, the AAA Foundation has published a highly informative, eye-opening report titled: Traffic Safety Culture Index. Included are annual survey results identifying drivers’ attitudes and behaviors related to traffic safety. Working with fleet safety professionals across the country, I have found that many are not aware of this report. I encourage anyone responsible for, involved in or concerned about fleet safety to become acquainted with the analysis provided in the Traffic Safety Culture Index to better understand the trends in driver behavior and corresponding safety challenges.
As reported in DelawareOnline, when the 2018 report was published, Ken Grant of AAA Mid-Atlantic stated, “The intention of the Traffic Safety Culture survey is to better understand drivers’ perceptions and attitudes toward risk behaviors, so we can figure out the best possible way to address those issues and reduce crashes.”
To Grant’s points, the knowledge garnered from this research can be used as a tool to guide organizations on how to craft and update their fleet safety policies. It also brings focus to areas of growing concern which may need to be addressed. Here is a brief sampling of some of the Foundation’s findings in their 2018 report:
- More than 1 in 5 (21.4%) drivers report having been involved in a motor vehicle crash in which someone had to go to the hospital, including 11.1% who have been seriously injured in a crash themselves.
- Nearly 1 in 3 (31.6%) drivers report having had a relative who was seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash.
- Most drivers (87.5%) perceive that distracted drivers are a bigger problem today than in past years. Moreover, distracted driving outpaced all other issues as a growing concern. It was followed by traffic congestion at 74.5%, aggressive drivers at 68.1%, drivers using drugs at 54.9% and drunk driving at 43.4%.
The report is broken down into key safety issue categories which include:
- Distracted Driving
- Risky and Aggressive Driving Behaviors
- Drowsy Driving
- Impaired Driving
The report also indexes respondents’ input on a variety of traffic safety issues. The following is one example: (click on image to enlarge)
One interesting observation from the chart above is that almost 78% of respondents felt texting or emailing while driving is a very serious personal threat, yet elsewhere in the report this same group admitted that 65% of them had engaged in this activity within the prior 30 days of completing the survey. Grant summarized this analysis stating, “What we have seen year after year is this ‘do as I say , not as I do’ behavior, a sense that ‘I can text, but you can’t,’ which is extremely troubling.”
So just with this one example, what is your organization doing to mitigate this texting issue? Are you taking a proactive approach or is your fleet safety policy just another document that collects dust somewhere on your employee’s desk? I recommend that the findings in this report be brought to the attention of senior leadership as a call to action.
This report clearly indicates that our cultural attitude toward traffic safety is being compromised and the worsening crash statistics over the past few years bear this out. As fleet operators, we are in a unique position to change this culture as we have the benefit of managing and communicating with a captive audience. To get started, invest the time to study the 2018 AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index provided here.
Time for a change: Your own welfare and safety, as well as that of your associates, friends and loved ones are at risk. Make this a call to action in your organization!
Safety & Risk is presented by Driving Dynamics an accomplished provider of impactful driver safety training and risk management services. Continually building and delivering programs based on sound research, proven learning methodologies and expert instruction, we are dedicated to improving drivers’ abilities to stay safe by leveraging risk management tools, principle-based learning and applied techniques. The One Second Advantage™ safety training principle developed by Driving Dynamics is rooted in research that shows 90 percent of all traffic crashes can be avoided when the driver has just one more second to react and knows what to do with that additional second. Driving Dynamics encourages all drivers to Steer Toward Safety™
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