2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index
In 2017, there were 37,133 motor vehicle fatalities on U.S. roadways. This is a 1.8% decrease from the 37,806 people killed in 2016 (NHTSA, 2018). While there has generally been a downward trend in traffic fatalities over the past 40 years, the number of miles U.S. drivers travel continues to rise, increasing their exposure to crash risk. During 2016 and 2017, on average, American drivers spent 51 minutes driving approximately 31.5 miles, making 2.2 driving trips each day (Kim et al., 2019). Compared with 2014-2015, these statistics increased by minutes (6.3%), miles (5.4%) and trips (2.8%).
Driving is an important part of many Americans’ lives. There are accepted and agreed-upon ways of behaving on the roadway. For the last decade, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has been committed to deepening our understanding of our nation’s traffic safety culture. The first Traffic Safety Culture Index (TSCI), a nationally representative survey, was conducted in 2008. Since then, this annual effort has continued to identify and assess key indicators of American drivers’ value and pursuit of traffic safety. The questionnaire has been revamped, and the 2018 TSCI has more measures including perceived danger, risk of arrest, personal and perceived social approval of risky driving, support for laws and policies designed to curtail these behaviors, and self-reported engagement in these behaviors.