AAA: Five Safe Driving Resolutions for 2012

With the start of a new year, people everywhere are making resolutions for change and self-improvement. That’s why AAA Arizona is encouraging motorists to consider quitting some bad habits behind the wheel and adopt some safer driving behaviors in the coming year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that nearly 33,000 people died in car crashes in the U.S. in 2010. While this number represents the fewest people killed in crashes in a single year since 1950, it also represents an average of 90 lives needlessly lost daily on roads across the country. Locally, more than 760 people died in car crashes in Arizona in 2010. This marks a decrease of more than five percent over the year prior, but also represents an average of two lives lost daily on our state’s roads.

“We’re moving in the right direction when it comes to safety on our roads but we need to do much more. That’s why AAA is urging motorists to take the first step and make a personal goal to be a safe driver in 2012,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona.

A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms that Americans desire a greater level of safety than they now experience on our roads. Yet, many admit that they are part of the problem. That’s why AAA Arizona is challenging motorists to examine their driving habits and make the following five safe driving resolutions for 2012:

  • Slow down. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is a factor in one in three fatal crashes.
    • Startling statistic: 74 percent of drivers consider it unacceptable for a driver to drive more than 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway, yet 52 percent admit to having done so in the past month.
  • Ditch distractions. Any behavior that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off the task at hand is considered a distraction. Texting requires all three of these things, making it the most dangerous distraction of all.
    • Startling statistic: The majority of drivers—94 percent—agree that texting is a serious threat to their safety, yet more than 35 percent admit to reading a text or email, and 26 percent admit to sending a message while driving in the past month.
  • Stop on red. According to the Red Means Stop Coalition, there are about 8,000 red-light and stop sign-related crashes each year across the state.
    • Startling statistic: 94 percent of drivers view red light running as unacceptable, yet more than one in three drivers admit doing just that in the past month.
  • Buckle up. NHTSA reports that seatbelts save more than 13,000 lives each year. However, in order to be effective, this life saving device must be used each and every time a person drives or rides in a motor vehicle. In Arizona, 35 percent of those killed in crashes in 2010 were unrestrained, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
    • Startling statistic: Nearly 1 in 4 drivers said they had driven without wearing their seatbelt in the last month.
  • Move Over. In 2011, Arizona’s ‘Move Over’ law was expanded to include tow trucks and stranded motorists displaying alternately flashing lights alongside freeways and highways. However, tragedies on Arizona roadways in recent months underscore the importance for motorists to remember to adhere to this law.

For more information on the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s 2011 Traffic Safety Culture Index, visit az.aaa.com/news/trafficsafety.

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance, vacation planning, discounts and financial services to more than 800,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls across the state. In 2008, AAA was ranked the No. 1 “socially responsible” brand by Landor’s BrandAsset® Valuator. In 2010 and 2011, AAA Travel earned Lovin’ Life After 50’s favorite travel agency category in the publication’s annual reader’s choice awards. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers and the motoring public.