PHOENIX — The most dangerous drivers on the road are not brand-new drivers or elderly people, but millennials, according to a new report.
The AAA report found 88 percent of 19- to 24-year-olds engaged in at least one risky behavior while driving in the past 30 days. Risky behaviors include texting while driving, speeding and running a red light.
According to the report, young millennial drivers were 1.6 times as likely as all drivers to read a text message or e-mail while driving and 1.4 times as likely as all drivers to have driven 10 miles per hour over the speed limit on a residential street.
In addition, 50 percent of young millennial drivers reported driving through a red light that had just turned red.
“We know drivers of all ages make mistakes, but it’s very concerning that these young drivers believe that reckless decisions, like speeding and red-light running, are acceptable,” said Michelle Donati, communications manager for AAA Arizona.
The report’s findings are based on responses from more than 2,500 young millennial drivers who were surveyed from Aug. 25 through Sept. 6.
It come as traffic deaths across the country rose to 35,092 in 2015. That’s an increase of about 7 percent from the previous year, which is the largest single-year increase in five decades.
The report also comes as the state legislature is considering a bill that address texting while driving. SB 1080 would forbid teen drivers from using cell phones and other devices while driving during the first six months that they have a license or until their 18th birthday, except in emergency situations.
Donati said AAA Arizona supports the bill.
“It’s really a first step towards helping young drivers develop life-long safe driving habits, especially knowing and hearing that these younger drivers are not only engaging in these risky driving behaviors but they find that engaging in them is acceptable behavior.”
The bill passed a senate committee and is headed to the Senate floor for a vote. If approved, it would take effect by July 2018.