A new study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that drivers aged 19-24 currently pose the most risk to themselves and others on the road. No less than 88.4 percent of these “young millennials” admitted to having been guilty of texting while driving, running a red light and/or speeding during the past 30 days. Given that U.S. traffic fatalities rose by seven percent in 2015–the biggest single-year jump in half a century—and are continuing on at a record pace, that’s not exactly good news.

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The AAA findings indicated that 59.3 percent of surveyed drivers in the 19-24 age group had sent a text or e-mail while driving compared to 31.4 percent for all other combined age groups and nearly half had run a red light versus 36 percent of others. In addition to speeding more frequently on residential streets, almost 12 percent of the young millennials who responded felt it was OK to drive 10 mph over the speed limit in a school zone, a sentiment shared by less than 5 percent of the remaining age groups.

 “Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

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While young millennials may head the stat list when it comes to making stupid choices when behind the wheel, Americans in general aren’t exactly models of motoring decorum. According to the AAA’s data, 79.2 percent of drivers aged 25-39 it heard from also admitted to violating one or more of the three aforementioned regulations during the past month, as did 75.2 percent of those aged 40-59. Interestingly enough, there was near parity between driver’s 16-18 (69.3 percent) and those over 75 (69.1 percent) with the best marks–albeit still hanging in at a not-so-laudable 67.3 percent–going to drivers in the 60-74 age range.

Information extracted for this new AAA study was drawn from a sample of 2,511 licensed individuals aged 16 and older who had driven at least once during the last 30 days. The full report as well as other related research can be found at www.aaafoundation.org


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