Millennial drivers between 19 and 24 are a serious hazard to other motorists. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 88 percent of millennials engaged in at least one dangerous driving behavior within a 30-day period. Older drivers and teens between 16 and 18 are also guilty of engaging in the risky driving behavior, though not to the same degree. Overall, young millennials are the worst offenders when it comes to engaging in risky behavior behind the wheel, especially regarding distracted driving where cell phones are involved.
Are They Really That Careful?
When asked how careful they are on the roads compared to other drivers, only 26.2 percent of young millennials claimed to be much more careful. This percentage is the lowest of all the age groups. They also scored highest in the “somewhat less careful” category, with 4.4 percent admitting to it.
Since these figures are based on the perceptions of each driver rather than third-party observation, the facts could be significantly different from how these drivers perceive their actions. After all, many of these young millennials claim there’s nothing wrong with engaging in risky behavior, which would indicate that their opinions of their own performance are somewhat skewed.
Over 66 percent of millennial drivers admitted to reading text messages or emails while behind the wheel, and more than 59 percent admitted to typing and sending texts and emails while driving. Even worse is that 12.9 percent of young drivers said that texting is perfectly acceptable behavior while operating a motor vehicle.
The only area where the age group did not rank first was in talking on a cell phone. About 73.3 percent admitted to doing it, compared to 75.7 percent of those in the 25 to 39 age bracket and 73.5 percent of those between 40 and 59. About 38 percent of young millennials said that talking on a hand-held cell phone is acceptable, however, and 67.8 percent claimed it was fine to use a hands-free phone.
A study from the Queensland University of Technology has discovered that using a cell phone hands-free is just as distracting as when it’s hands-on. It took drivers 40 percent longer to react while talking on their phones in hands-free mode than those who weren’t using a phone. The delayed reaction time equates to approximately 36 feet for a vehicle traveling at around 25 mph.
Considering that 1.6 million of the 2.5 million accidents that occur in the United States involve a cell phone, and 1 out of every 4 accidents is caused by texting, increased education and awareness of the deadly consequences of using cell phones while driving would likely reduce the risk of distracted driving accidents.
Other Driving Hazards
Young drivers are guilty of other hazardous driving behaviors as well. Nearly 62 percent of millennials admitted to driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway, while over 64 percent admitted to driving 10 mph over the limit on a residential street. Almost 50 percent admitted to driving through a light that had just turned red, even when they could have safely stopped. In these categories, young millennials beat out all other age groups.
A few too many also say that these behaviors are acceptable. Nearly 36 percent report that it’s okay to drive 15 mph over the limit on a freeway, 15 percent don’t see a problem with going 10 mph faster than the limit on a residential street, and almost 24 percent are fine with doing the same thing in an urban area. Even more worrying is that almost 12 percent claim there is nothing wrong with going 10 mph over the speed limit in the vicinity of a school, and 13.7 percent say it’s acceptable to run a red light, even if they could have stopped without any undue harm coming to them.
The Study Reveals that Millennial Drivers Are Dangerous
The statistics reveal that millennial drivers are a hazard. When compared to other age groups, the differences aren’t that extreme, but young drivers do come out in the top spot in most cases.
Sadly, texting has become such a problem that it’s 6 times more likely to cause an accident than driving under the influence. And 11 teens die every day because of texting while at the wheel. Even those who survive such accidents often experience a severe decline in their quality of life due to disabilities, which are often permanent.
Driving rules and regulations aren’t meant to hurt anyone, they’re meant to protect and save lives, a fact young millennials would do well to understand. Familiarizing young drivers with the potentially deadly consequences of these risky behaviors could significantly reduce the number of injuries and fatalities caused by car accidents.