National Survey of Speeding and Unsafe Driving Attitudes and Behavior: 2002: Volume II: Findings
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National Survey of Speeding and Unsafe Driving Attitudes and Behavior: 2002: Volume II: Findings

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  • Alternative Title:
    National Survey of Speeding and Unsafe Driving Attitudes and Behavior: 2002: Volume 2: Findings
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    Final report
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    This report represents findings from a survey on speeding and unsafe driving attitudes and behaviors. The data come from a pair of studies undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to better understand drivers' behaviors and attitudes regarding speeding, unsafe driving, distracted and drowsy driving. This report, Volume II: Findings Speeding and Unsafe Driving presents the data on American drivers' reported behaviors and attitudes surrounding speeding and other unsafe and aggressive driving behaviors. Volume I: Findings National Survey of Distracted and Drowsy Driving reports respondent's behaviors and attitudes on various topics related to distracted and drowsy driving, while Volume III: Methods Report describes the methods used to conduct the interviews and analyze the data, and also contains the questionnaires. The data come from two surveys each conducted among nationally representative samples of drivers during the Spring of 2002. Interviews were conducted with a total of 4,010 drivers in the U.S. The survey findings show that speeding is a pervasive behavior with most drivers driving over the posted speed within the past month. Drivers are most likely to speed on non-interstate multi-lane roads. Younger and male drivers are most likely to speed. Drivers seem to believe that they can drive about 7-8 MPH over the posted speed before they will be ticketed. While most drivers speed at least occasionally, most also feel the speed limits on different road types are "about right." However, about 20% feel the limits are too low on non-interstate multi-lane roads and 35% say the limits on multi-lane interstates are too low. Drivers see the average "ideal" speed limit for interstate highways at around 67 MPH, though half feel the limit should be 70 MPH or higher. Nearly four in ten drivers say they would still continue to drive over the posted speed limit if the limit on interstates was raised by 10 MPH. The majority of drivers (58%) feel that someone driving at least 10 MPH over the posted limit would be at least somewhat more likely than a driver at the limit to have a crash. Two-thirds (68%) of drivers feel that other drivers' speeding is a major threat to their own personal safety. While speeding behavior is pervasive, drivers report lower levels of other unsafe driving behaviors such as entering an intersection as the light turns from yellow to red (51% at least sometimes) and rolling stops at stop signs (42%). Fewer than one in ten drivers report other risky driving behaviors such as tailgating, making illegal U-turns, driving through stop signs without slowing, drunk driving, running red lights, and racing other vehicles. However, at least one in six drivers reports "normally" encountering tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, and cars running red lights. Many drivers feel that enforcement of non-speeding unsafe behaviors is too lax, with half or more seeing too little enforcement of tailgating, weaving and running red lights. A majority of drivers feel that automated photo enforcement of unsafe drivers is a good idea.
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