If you feel unsafe when you are in the car, you're not alone. More than half of all drivers (52 percent) say that driving feels less safe now than five years ago, according to the AAA Foundation's recently released 2010 Traffic Safety Culture Index. This is a big jump from last year, when just 35 percent of those surveyed said that driving felt less safe than five years prior.
Why do drivers feel so much more unsafe? Driver distraction, primarily via cell phone talking, emailing or texting, were the main reasons cited. It would seem, however, that the concern is more to others than to themselves as drivers.
Of those surveyed, 62 percent said that drivers talking on cell phones was a very serious threat to their personal safety, yet 69 percent reported talking on a cell phone while driving within the past 30 days, with 57 percent of those respondents stating they used a handheld cell phone. A whopping 88 percent of those surveyed said that drivers text messaging or emailing were a very serious threat to their personal safety, yet 24 percent reported reading or sending a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days.
The data is a bit surprising since many states have outlawed texting and handheld cell phone use while driving, with both being illegal in some states. Even if it's not illegal in your state, doing these activities while driving does create a distraction, which could lead to a car accident. And if you are fault for just one accident, you'll end up with higher car insurance rates.
What about you? Do you feel less safe when driving your car? Why?
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.