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Millennials are worst behind the wheel – but everyone's pretty bad, report finds

AAA's survey has thrown up some pretty shocking figures about dangerous driving habits.
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The headlines will read "millennials are the worst" but the latest study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety highlights that we're all pretty dangerous behind the wheel, no matter our age.

The report has thrown up some pretty shocking figures about dangerous driving habits, including that the majority of drivers of all ages admit to texting while driving, running red lights or speeding.

Younger drivers are the worst, with 88 percent of 18-24 year olds admitting to at least one of these in the past 30 days, but older drivers aren't much better – with 75.2 percent of 40-59 year olds and 69.1 percent of people over 75 admitting the same thing.

Perhaps more worrying for young drivers is the perception of danger.

Drivers aged 16-39 were more likely to find texting while driving, speeding in residential, urban and school areas, and running a light that just turned red "more acceptable" than drivers of other ages.

The foundation's executive director David Yang described this as "alarming," particularly after the latest statistics (for 2015) found the number of traffic deaths across the country rose to 35,092, a 7 percent rise the foundation says is the largest one-year jump in five decades.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drivers aged 16-19 in 2013 accounted for 11 percent of the total costs associated with motor vehicle injuries, despite representing just 7 percent of the population.

Here are a few more findings from the survey, which was compiled from a sample of more than 2,500 drivers:

  • Four in five drivers said drivers who text or email are a "very serious threat" to their personal safety, yet 40 percent admitting having read an email or text behind the wheel themselves in the past 30 days. And just over 30 percent admitted typing or sending one.
  • Fewer than 60 percent of respondents think drivers who get behind the wheel after taking illegal drugs are a threat to their safety.
  • Almost 5 percent of drivers admitted to driving within one hour of using marijuana in the past year.
  • 71.5 percent of drivers support a ban on hand-held cellphone use in vehicles. (There's actually a bill in the Minnesota Legislature this year that would ban the use of phones while driving unless it's in handheld mode.)
  • Two-thirds of drivers don't want speed cameras on freeways, but 45.6 percent admit to having driven 15 mph above the speed limit on a freeway in the past 30 days. That number climbs to 61 percent among 18-24 year olds.

You can find more details in this AAA fact sheet.

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