Drivers who are younger are more likely to speed and engage in other aggressive and dangerous driving behaviors, and so are men of all ages. That’s what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found in its annual Traffic Safety Culture survey published in June 2020.
If you’ve ever paid higher auto insurance rates for yourself as a teenager or for your teenage child, you know the concept that young drivers are the riskiest drivers is a long-standing claim. The AAA study is a self-reported survey of risky driving behavior. When reported by age and gender (see Appendix A), it’s young men in particular who implicate themselves most often.
Auto Blog was the first publication we saw with this particular take on the AAA study. “When it comes to behaviors considered characteristic of aggressive driving, including speeding (15 mph over the speed limit on a highway or 10 mph over in a residential area), weaving, tailgating and engaging in road-rage-style theatrics, men were universally more likely to have partaken,” Byron Hurd wrote.
“Meanwhile, close to 30 percent of both young men and young women reported manually texting while driving at least once in the past month,” the Canadian blog Driving wrote.
There’s plenty of reason to be concerned. Unfortunately, soon after this report was published, Indianapolis was mourning a teenage girl who died in a car crash partially blamed on speeding.
Young Men and Aggressive Driving
The AAA’s annual survey focuses on driving behaviors and how they do not match reported attitudes. Respondents were asked how they viewed the danger levels of certain driving behaviors.
Regarding aggressive driving for example, nearly 92% of those surveyed indicated that switching lanes or driving closely behind another car (tailgating) was very dangerous, and a majority of respondents said it was extremely dangerous to drive 10 miles over the speed limit on residential streets (63.5%) or run red lights (86%). Only 55% of those surveyed viewed speeding 15 mph over the speed limit on freeways as extremely dangerous.
While 91.8% of all drivers in the survey said aggressive driving was extremely or very dangerous, a slightly smaller percentage of men and drivers ages 25 to 39 gave this response (the lowest level of agreement among any age group).
In the 19 to 24 age group, 100% of drivers said aggressive driving was extremely or very dangerous. That’s the highest response for any age group. Yet nearly half of the respondents in that age group said they had engaged in “aggressive driving behaviors at least once in the past 30 days.” Among drivers ages 25 to 39, approximately a third admitted aggressive driving in the prior month.
By contrast, only 15.5% of drivers 60 to 74 said they had engaged in aggressive driving in the prior 30 days, the lowest percentage among any age group.
Among men, 31.5% said they had engaged in aggressive driving in the prior month, while 21.4% of women said they had done so.
The bloggers we quote above suggest the differences among drivers may be what they’re willing to admit to, not necessarily how they drive.
“New drivers aged 16 to 18 and those aged 19 to 24 were more likely to self-report their bad habits, likely due to guilt or to lack of experience,” the Driving blog says.
Auto Blog says, “It’s also worth noting that there’s a demonstrable uptick between new drivers aged 16-18 and those aged 19-24 when it comes to self-reporting bad behaviors, likely due to a combination of new-driver guilt and the fact that younger drivers are more likely to behave cautiously due to a lack of experience, especially when being supervised during the graduated licensing process.”
Characteristics of an Aggressive Driver
Elsewhere, AAA calls aggressive driving extremely common among U.S. drivers and says nearly 80 percent of drivers admit to having expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days.
In Indiana, a driver may be charged with aggressive driving if he commits three or more of these infractions during a single driving event:
- Following a vehicle too closely
- Driving at an unsafe speed
- Operating a vehicle unsafely by slowing or stopping, turning or changing lanes without signaling
- Passing another vehicle on the right side by driving off the roadway
- Failing to yield
- Failing to obey a traffic control device such as a stoplight, stop sign, railroad crossing lights or railroad crossing gate
- Sounding the vehicle’s horn unnecessarily
- Flashing the vehicle’s headlights repeatedly at another driver.
Aggressive driving is a Class A misdemeanor in Indiana. A person who is convicted of an aggressive driving charge may be sentenced to up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. In a highway work zone, an aggressive driver may be charged with a felony punishable by up to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
How an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by an aggressive driver in Indiana, the car accident lawyers at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC are ready to assist you. You may be able to seek compensation for medical bills and other costs and losses through a claim we can file on your behalf. This is money you may be able to recover regardless of whether criminal charges were filed against the driver who caused the accident. If the driver who injured you is facing police charges, you would need to file a separate civil lawsuit to seek compensation for your medical bills and related expenses.
Contact Craig, Kelley & Faultless online or at (800) 746-0226 today for a free legal consultation. Our Indiana car accident lawyers work on a contingency fee basis and will not ask for a dime until we win your case through a settlement or a jury verdict. We only receive a legal fee if you receive compensation through a settlement or court award. Contact us today.
Since 1999 the Indianapolis legal team at Craig, Kelley & Faultless, LLC have been dedicated to helping individuals and their families who have been injured or have lost a loved one as the result of someone’s carelessness. The firm was founded by three attorneys, David Craig, William ‘BJ’ Kelley II and Scott Faultless, since then they have added attorneys and legal professionals to the team and opened four additional office locations to better serve their clients.