Unsafe behaviors behind the wheel such as speeding, driving while distracted, driving when impaired, being drowsy, running red lights and not wearing a seat belt have caused more than 30,000 car crash fatalities among Americans in 2014, with the number estimated to have increased by 9 percent a year later.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that there are about 87 percent of drivers who engage in at least one of these unsafe behaviors while they are driving.
"There is a culture of indifference for far too many drivers when it comes to road safety," said Peter Kissinger, CEO and president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "The vast majority of motorists believe they are more careful than others on the road, though most of them are not making safe decisions while behind the wheel."
The study was based on a nationwide surveyed data from a sample of 2,442 licensed drivers aged 16 and above. It notes that 94 percent of all traffic accidents are all due to human error, with one out of three drivers admitting that they had a friend or a relative who had been seriously injured or suffered fatalities from a crash. The study also says that one in five drivers had been through a crash that required getting treated in a hospital.
Almost half of the drivers are guilty of speeding, with 48 percent admitting to going beyond the freeway's speed limit by as much as 15 mph in the past month. Driving on a residential street also didn't stop 45 percent of drivers from going 10 mph faster than the speed limit during the past 30 days.
Thirty-nine percent of the participants admitted to driving through a red light instead of stopping.
Thirty-two percent said that they have experienced driving while they felt very tired and had difficulty in keeping their eyes open. Previous research at the foundation shows that driving while drowsy accounts for the annual average crashes of 328,000 with 109,000 resulting in injuries and 6,400 in fatalities.
Distracted driving is also rampant among the participants, with 70 percent admitting to talking on a phone while driving and 42 percent reading SMS or email messages. The report also reveals that compared to three years ago, distracted driving has become a bigger problem, according to more than 80 percent of participants.
Eighteen percent of the drivers drove without a seat belt within the past month, while 13 percent admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol within the past year.
Previous research by the NHTSA speculates that almost 10,000 deaths from crashes occur in a year because of drunk driving. It also costs the nation more than $50 billion every year.