After three years of consistent decline, risky driving behavior is again on the rise in the Northeast and across the country. Drivers are also engaging in driving behavior they admit is dangerous.
Crashes are the leading cause of death in this country for young people.
A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report is especially disturbing because it shows a rise in dangerous driving habits. These include the major causes of motor vehicle accidents such as speeding, running red lights, drowsy driving and driving while impaired.
Drivers acknowledge that behavior such as speeding and driving while impaired is unsafe. However, the report finds they still engage in this conduct.
One national statistic is especially alarming. The number of motorists who self-reported driving while intoxicated in the past 30 days increased by almost 24%.
In Massachusetts, distracted driving and driving while impaired, among other dangerous behavior, fell from 2020 to 2021. But speeding is still a problem.
Police in the state issued over 180,000 speeding citations from Jan. through Sept. 2021. This is a 6% increase from the same period in 2020.
The Massachusetts Highway Safety Annual Report found a 21% increase in fatalities related to speeding between 2019 and 2021.
Other fatalities rise
Massachusetts suffered 421 traffic deaths in 2021, a 22% increase from 2015. There were 397 reported vehicle deaths for this year in the commonwealth as of Dec. 6, 2022.
Risky behaviors acquired during the pandemic shutdown have continued, according to experts. These included driving more aggressively on open roads.
MassDOT is trying to reverse this trend by assisting municipalities with applying for federal funding for reducing vehicle accidents through the bipartisan infrastructure law. It also developed the safe system approach which assists with the development of highway infrastructure that deals with human error.
A negligent or reckless driver can cause serious injury or even death. Attorneys can help victims and their families seek compensation.