A couple recent surveys from AAA show just how schizophrenic Americans are about safe driving habits.
Since they were teenagers, most drivers know what distractions or habits increase the risk of injury to themselves, passengers or others. Eating while behind the wheel, talking on a cellphone — hands-free or not, AAA says — driving after drinking or when you are sleepy or on medication are among the riskiest activities.
And yet, the overwhelming majority of drivers — about 87 percent — regularly do some of the behaviors behind the wheel that AAA says are risky. Out of the survey of 2,442 currently licensed drivers, most (70 percent) acknowledged they have talked on a cellphone while behind the wheel in the past month. One in three says they do so regularly.
It should be noted that talking on a cellphone while driving is not illegal in any state, although a handful requires using a hands-free device. But as we’ve written, many experts say using a headset is not much better than holding the phone up to your year when it comes to cognitive impairments.
As for other risky behaviors, such as speeding 15 or more miles per hour over the posted highway speed limit, they’re very common: 48 percent acknowledge exceeding such speed limits regularly. A third admits they have driven while drowsy.
AAA says many drivers appear to think many drivers think they can juggle distractions better than others.
They’re likely wrong, said Peter Kissinger, president and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“There is a culture of indifference for far too many drivers when it comes to road safety,” Kissinger said. “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. We’re asking every driver to make responsible decisions to make the roads safer for everyone.”
A potential solution — self-driving cars — appears to make many drivers more nervous than speeding down a highway while woofing down a cheeseburger and sending a text.
AAA says another survey it conducted showed 75 percent of drivers are scared of self-driving vehicles, with only 20 percent saying they would trust being a passenger in one.
“With the rapid advancement towards autonomous vehicles, American drivers may be hesitant to give up full control,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair. “What Americans may not realize is that the building blocks towards self-driving cars are already in today’s vehicles and the technology is constantly improving and well-trusted by those who have experienced it.”
What do you think of self-driving technology for HVAC construction? Do you look forward to the day when sheet metal works technicians can climb into a vehicle and get work done while the van takes care of driving? Take our online survey
On a different subject, don’t forget that SNIPS is hosting a free webinar at 2 p.m. Eastern March 22 on designing your sheet metal shop for success.
Mestek Machinery sales vice president Michael Bailey will take attendees through the must-do requirements for designing an effective sheet metal works shop. A hint: new machinery is not always a problem solver. I’ll be moderating the event. Be sure to register now.