2011 Traffic Safety Culture Index

This report presents the results of our annual Traffic Safety Culture Index survey, providing data on the attitudes and behaviors of the American public with respect to key traffic safety topics.

January 2012

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 1986 through 2010, the lives of 1,045,016 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 32,885 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010.  Although this represents the fewest people killed in crashes in a single year since 1950, it also represents an average of 90 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 fourth annual Traffic Safety Culture Index finds that in some ways, Americans do appear to value safe travel and desire a greater level of safety than they now experience. For example, 70% of Americans say that the government should give more attention to making roads and highways safer, which is similar to the number that said the government should do more to increase the fuel economy of cars and take measures to reduce traffic congestion—issues that typically receive far more media attention and public debate than road safety.

On the other hand, this survey also highlights some aspects of the current traffic safety culture that might be characterized most appropriately as a “do as I say, not as I do” attitude that exists behind the wheel. For example, substantial numbers of drivers say that it is completely unacceptable to drive 10 mph over the speed limit on residential streets yet admit having done that in the past month.

This report presents the results of the AAA Foundation’s fourth annual Traffic Safety Culture Index, conducted from June 6 through June 28, 2011 by Knowledge Networks for the AAA Foundation with a sample of 3,147 U.S. residents ages 16 and older using a web-enabled probability-based panel that is representative of the United States population.

Suggested Citation

For media inquiries, contact:

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

Authors

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety