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GMAC Study: 1 in 5 Drivers Don’t Know the Rules of the Road

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Avoid Texting and DrivingWe’ve all seen it. People can do the craziest things while driving and it’s extremely dangerous. Last month, we reported on a women in the Florida Keys who caused a car accident because she decided to shave while behind the wheel.

For the sixth straight year GMAC has conducted a study on how well American drivers know the rules of the road. As you might imagine, the results were far from acceptable, and the study rated distracted driving as one of the top issues. Lindsey Erin Kroskob, staff writer for Wyoming News shares the disturbing numbers:

What is the correct way to respond to a solid yellow light at an intersection?

Go through it before it turns red?

Stop if it’s safe to do so?

Prepare yourself to stop or slow down and proceed with caution?

According to a GMAC Insurance study, 85 percent of licensed drivers don’t know the answer.

And nationally, roughly 38 million drivers would fail a driving test if they took it today.

No matter how you cut it, the results are disturbing and do quite a bit to explain the frequency of auto collisions in the US. The average score of study respondents was disheartening across the entire country. At the head of the pack, Kansas drivers scored 82.3 percent. Colorado was among the top 10 with drivers scoring  77.8 percent.

This brings us back to where we started — drivers putting on lipstick or texting while their eyes and attention should be on the road. Kroskob continues:

The 5,202 participants are also quizzed on their primary driving distractions.

One in four admit to driving while talking on the cell phone, eating and adjusting the radio or playing with mp3 players.

Only 5 percent said they text and drive.

‘That is the kind of stuff that leads to accidents,’ [Wade] Bontrager [GMAC]] said. ‘Those couple of seconds are the couple of seconds it takes to get into an accident.’

He said anything that takes your eye of the road or your brain off the task at hand is a distraction.

‘Distracted driving is not good driving,’ Bontrager said.

Some of you are nodding ruefully after reading this. Perhaps because you’ve seen it on the road, or because you know you give in to these distractions yourself. Jeffrey Wolf and Eric Kahnert, web producers from Colorado’s 9News report on a fantastic effort their station is making to combat this problem as it affects motorcycle riders:

May is motorcycle awareness month, and as motorcycle registrations continue to rise in Colorado, so do the number of motorcycle deaths when compared to all traffic fatalities.

[Karl] Long has been run off the road too many times to count.

‘They’ve blocked this much of their vision out when the phone is up to their ear, and they just kind of glance over and move on over like nothing is there,’ Long said covering the left-side of his eye with his hand.

The bikers signed our Great Hang Up pledge to put a stop to distracted driving. They hope others will too.

“Be aware of us please,” Long said.

Motorcyclists and bicyclists in particular are at risk from distracted drivers, and are the most likely to be injured in a collision. Join in the Great Hang Up Pledge that 9News has put together [Download PDF Here] and let’s make the road safer for everyone!

Image by Ford on Flickr, used under its Creative Commons license


My daughter and I first consulted with Dan Rosen after a very serious auto accident. Dan had several phone conferences with me, and Tracie was available whenever I called. We would recommend personal injury attorney Dan Rosen to anyone!
Sally from Denver, Colorado

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