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Millennials pegged as the worst drivers – but are they really?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017by  Sharlyn Petit

hiker on snowy mountainWhen it comes to slicing and dicing data by age demographics, I naturally get defensive when anything negative about Millennials (my age group) comes to light. Sometimes we’re the worst at a certain task, and other times it’s just in general that we’re the worst.

OK, so I’ll give this recent “millennials are the worst...” article a click-through and see what it has to tell me about myself.

According to a recent study by AAA, if you’re a driver aged 19 to 39, you’re more likely than other drivers to deem the following to be acceptable:

  • Texting while driving

  • Speeding in a residential, urban, or school area

  • Running a light that just turned red.

That's fair. The data supports it. But important to note: AAA doesn’t use the term “Millennial” in its study, and ages 19 to 39 definitely span several generations. So you can see how easy it is to single out Millennials without first defining their age group.

The AAA study suggests that younger drivers’ perception of danger is worrisome, but a closer look at drivers actions in the past month (and not just finger-wagging at Millennials in particular) shows that we all could be a little more careful.

It's a culture of indifference with traffic safety that AAA says drivers demonstrate as a “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude. Drivers are saying certain behaviors like texting are unacceptable, yet they admit to having texted while driving in the past month.

man driving car

Of the 2,500 drivers surveyed (all ages), in the past month nearly 1 in 3 admit to typing or sending a text or email while driving, nearly half of all drivers say they have driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway, and more than 1 in 3 drivers admit to running a light that just turned red.

While the stats on these driving activities tend to be a little higher than the average for Millennial age groups, the study tells us we’re all displaying some pretty dangerous driving habits – whether it’s in our perception of what is acceptable, or our actual daily judgments on the road.

Read more about the AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index.

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