2010 Traffic Safety Culture Index

This report presents the results of the AAA Foundation’s third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, conducted from May 11 through June 7, 2010, a survey conducted with a nationally-representative sample of 2,000 U.S. residents 16 years of age and older.

October 2010

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Tamra Johnson
202-942-2079
TRJohnson@national.aaa.com

Authors

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Abstract

In the quarter century from 1985 through 2009, the lives of 1,055,881 men, women, and children have ended violently as the result of motor vehicle crashes in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children, teens, and young adults up to age 34. Statistics from the United States Department of Transportation indicate that 33,808 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2009.  Although this represents the fewest people killed in crashes in a single year since 1950, it also represents an average of 93 lives needlessly cut short on an average day as the result of crashes on our roads.

Since 2006, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been sponsoring research to better understand traffic safety culture. The Foundation’s long-term term vision is to create a “social climate in which traffic safety is highly valued and rigorously pursued.” In 2008, the AAA Foundation conducted the first annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, a nationally-representative telephone survey, to begin to assess a few key indicators of the degree to which traffic safety is valued and is being pursued.

As in previous years, this third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index again finds that in some regards our society does appear to value safety or at least is concerned about certain safety issues. For example, this survey finds that nearly 3 of every 4 Americans agrees that they would benefit if the government were to give more attention to traffic safety issues, and there is strong support for several proposed safety initiatives.

On the other hand, this survey also highlights some aspects of the current traffic safety culture that might be characterized most appropriately as a culture of indifference, where drivers effectively say “do as I say, not as I do.” For example, substantial numbers of drivers say that it is completely unacceptable to text message or talk on a cell phone while driving, yet admit to doing so anyway.

This report presents the results of the AAA Foundation’s third annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, conducted from May 11 through June 7, 2010, a survey conducted with a nationally representative sample of 2,000 U.S. residents 16 years of age and older, in English and in Spanish, via landline and cellular telephone, from May 11, 2010 through June 7, 2010.

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

Tamra Johnson
202-942-2079
TRJohnson@national.aaa.com

Authors

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety