As Americans Drive More, Roadway Risk Is Up


An average driver in the United States spends an additional 20 minutes behind the wheel each week compared to five years ago, according to 2019 research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a nonprofit research and education association. On average, that amounts to nearly an hour of driving each day, which approximates to 31.5 miles a day.

Collectively, over the course of a year, Americans are spending more time driving — something like 70 billion hours, an eight percent increase from 2014.

So what has more driving meant for roadway safety?

Deaths from cars running red lights hit a 10-year high, AAA also found. The number of people killed when someone ran through a light reached 939 in 2017, the last full year numbers were available.

That was up 31% from a low of 715 in 2009. And the fatalities in those red-light collisions increased for a fifth straight year in 2017.

The rise of smartphones, which have exploded in popularity since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, and distracting in-vehicle infotainment systems, could be contributing to the surge in collisions too. American drivers are increasingly distracted on the road, which experts say is one likely reason that total traffic deaths of 37,133 in 2017 were up 13% from the all-time low of 32,744 in 2014.

Automotive accidents not only impact drivers and their families, but also employers. According to a Motus 2018 driver safety report, auto accidents cost employers $56.7 billion annually.




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