Bad Drivers in Cars
By David A. Kolman
It’s not your imagination. Drivers of four wheelers are indeed getting worse.
Consider the results from the sixth annual GMAC Insurance National Drivers Test. It indicates that roughly 38 million licensed drivers lack basic driving knowledge. That’s scary.
The test was based on a pool of 5,202 survey participants representative of the U.S. Census drawn from all 50 states and the District of Columbia who completed 20 questions, taken from actual written Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) tests. Among the key finding of the test:
*18.4 percent of drivers on the road – roughly 38 million licensed Americans – would not pass a written drivers test if they had to take one today.
* Average test scores in 2010 continue to show a trending downward.
*With age comes wisdom. The older the driver, the higher the test score. Men over 45 earned the highest average score.
* Factoring in margin for error, the average test score was significantly higher among men than women (78.1 for men versus 74.4 for women). Women also had a higher failure rate than men.
Here’s a couple of statistic that I found particularly troubling:
* 73 percent of drivers could not properly identify a typical safe following distance from the car in front of them. (You may be interested to know that rear end collisions are the most common type of vehicle accident in the United States.)
* 85 percent of drivers did not know the correct answer of what to do at a traffic light displaying a steady yellow signal. (Do you know? The correct answer: stop if it is safe to do so.)
In addition to the 20-question DMV exam, GMAC Insurance posed questions exploring distracting habits, such as texting while driving. These findings reveal some additional areas for concern. Here are just two:
* Conversation with other passengers is the leading distraction while driving, with more than half of all drivers engaged in this activity (52 percent).
* Approximately one quarter of drivers admitted to talking on a cell phone, selecting songs on an iPod or CD, adjusting the radio or eating while driving their vehicle.
With the summer driving season in full swing, it is even more important that we professional drivers limit our distractions behind the wheel and focus on safe driving.