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Driver beliefs do not match dangerous behaviors

Some younger Oklahoma drivers might be more dangerous on the road than some of their older counterparts, according to a study carried out by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The survey found that millennial drivers are almost twice as likely to email or text while driving as those in other age groups, and they are more than two times as likely to think that driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit in a school zone is acceptable.

Overall, more than four-fifths of millennial drivers admitted to engaging in dangerous behavior while behind the wheel. However, drivers in other age groups admitted to driving dangerously as well, and in many cases, they confessed to committing infractions they disapproved of. For example, almost 93 percent of all drivers said running a red light when stopping was possible was unacceptable, but over one-third of them reported to doing it themselves. Almost 29 percent of drivers said they had driven while fighting to stay awake even though most of them condemned the practice.

Traffic fatalities rose greatly in 2015, reporting the largest percentage increase in several decades. The AAA Foundation's executive director said it is important that people be educated about the dangers of these behaviors.

Many car accidents are caused by driver error. If someone engages in one of these unsafe behaviors and causes a crash, he or she could be held legally responsible even if he or she doesn't face criminal charges. For example, if an injured person's attorney can produce a preponderance of evidence in court demonstrating that the driver was texting, then that person may be held responsible in a civil sense. This could lead to the injured party receiving more compensation than what the insurance company offers.

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