Report Finds Millennial Drivers As “Worst Behaved”

AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety Says Drivers Ages 19-24 Admitted More Risky Actions

Out on the roads, people of all ages can find themselves closer than ever before.

One age group, however, may be taking too close of calls.

An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey found 88.4 percent of millennial drivers did at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in a thirty day span.

The risky behaviors include texting and driving, running red lights and speeding.

The survey found drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 were twice more likely to send an electronic message on a mobile device than any other age group.

Washington High School Drivers Education Teacher Jim Trett said it’s become a talking point in all of his classes.

“It’s a complex thing because it’s so much a part of their lives. It was almost like they were born with it in their hand. It’s really hard to get them not to use it,” said Trett.

Officer Jeff Gillespie said teaching the issue can only go so far.

He said it is how young drivers act in the real world that sets the course of their behavior.

“They probably got off without getting caught before and they’ve probably got off by going for a while without getting in a crash. They don’t see the risks or realize the risks they’re taking,” said Officer Gillespie.

The blame, however, doesn’t go solely on Millennials behind the wheel.

The report found 79.2 percent of drivers age 25-39 took at least one risk in the thirty day span.

75 percent of drivers between the age of 40 and 59 did the same.

When it comes to behaviors like texting and driving, Officer Gillespie said adults are found equally guilty.

“We’ve caught people in their seventies before doing it. You can’t accuse just one group of doing this one thing,” said Officer Gillespie.

Trett said a lot of students actions revolve around what they see other adults on the road do.

“It’s kind of like a parent, that just because they’re a certain age, they can do things but the kids cant. That’s not the way it is with a cell phone. If they’re using it, their kids are using it so they need to be a better role model, too,” said Trett.

In order to break the habits, Officer Gillespie said the answer may come in a tough lesson.

“The only thing to stop is either they do it voluntarily, which is our goal. Unfortunately, what will change their behavior? Maybe getting in a crash or maybe getting a ticket,” said Gillespie.

Gillespie said the state of South Dakota considers distracted driving as a secondary offense, meaning you can’t be pulled over simply for texting.

In Sioux Falls, on the other hand, Gillespie said a city ordinance considers reading, composing or sending an electronic message as a primary offense.

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