The 2020 iteration of the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index survey provides insights on public engagement in unsafe driving behaviors and related attitudes and perceptions in the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic relative to previous years.
For more than a decade, the annual Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI) survey has contributed to deepening our understanding of public perceptions of, attitudes toward, and engagement in unsafe driving behaviors. Responses from 2020, when exceptional conditions were observed on roadways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, can provide insights on America’s traffic safety culture during the pandemic and underscore changes relative to pre-pandemic years.
The following summarizes key findings related to American traffic safety culture based on responses from the 2020 TSCI survey.
Data from the 2020 TSCI were collected between Oct. 23 and Nov. 23, 2020, using a probability-based sampling panel representative of the U.S. population. Descriptive analyses have been conducted based on weighted data that consisted of 2,889 licensed drivers ages 16 or older who completed the online survey and reported having driven at least once in the 30 days before the survey. Additional analyses have been conducted to compare responses from the 2020 survey with those from 2018 and 2019. Further information on the methodology is provided in the full report.
Comparing 2020 results with those from 2018 and 2019, no significant changes in drivers’ perceived danger were found for all unsafe driving behaviors examined in the survey. With regard to perceived risk of apprehension, however, significant positive changes were found for some unsafe driving behaviors such as driving while talking or reading on a hand-held cell phone. Additionally, respondents were more likely to perceive social disapproval and less likely to have engaged in most of the unsafe driving behaviors. Fewer respondents, however, were supportive of most of the included safety countermeasures.