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Tags: traffic deaths | aaa study | pandemic

Dangerous Drivers Were Higher Percentage on Roads During Pandemic: AAA

Vehicles on a highway
An aerial picture shows vehicles sitting in traffic in Kern County, Calif. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 28 February 2022 06:02 PM EST

The percentage of riskier drivers on the roads increased during the coronavirus pandemic, even though the number of miles driven in the United States decreased significantly, helping to explain how the number of traffic deaths in the U.S. was the highest in over a decade, according to a report by AAA.

AAA conducted the study in order to understand how it could be that traffic deaths went up, especially since this was not a global trend. As one might expect, road deaths during the pandemic were lower than the previous year in almost all other high-income countries, as so many fewer miles were driven overall.

AAA's director of traffic safety advocacy and research, Jake Nelson, said that ''despite safer roads, safer vehicles and stronger traffic safety laws on the books, the U.S. has witnessed more, not less death on our roadways even at a time when other nations saw dramatic drops.''

To understand the reason for the rise in U.S. traffic deaths, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined whether the pandemic changed the composition of drivers on the road in the U.S. and found that while most drivers reduced their driving during the pandemic, a small proportion actually increased their time behind the wheel.

Those who increased their driving in the U.S. appeared to be riskier than average, even after accounting for their age, gende, and how much they drove, according to the study.

''Our research finds that higher-risk motorists accounted for a greater share of drivers during the pandemic than before it,'' said David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. ''Safety-minded individuals drove less, while many who increased their driving tended to engage in riskier behaviors behind the wheel.''

The research showed that the small percentage of people that increased their driving during the pandemic in the U.S. were younger and disproportionately male, which is a statistically riskier driver group than the average population.

The  risky driving behaviors carried out by this small group included aggressiveness, not wearing seat belts, speeding and running red lights, all factors that could lead to higher death rates.

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The percentage of riskier drivers on the roads increased during the coronavirus pandemic, even though the number of miles driven in the United States decreased significantly, helping to explain how the number of traffic deaths in the U.S. was the highest in over a decade ,...
traffic deaths, aaa study, pandemic
348
2022-02-28
Monday, 28 February 2022 06:02 PM
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