Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

New Allstate Survey Shows Americans Think They Are Great Drivers - Habits Tell a Different Story

In regard to discussion of "the other" as it relates to drivers vs. bicyclists, for example as discussed in a recent entry in Washcycle, "Ignorance, arrogance and hypocrisy...oh my," covering the back and forth of the letters column in the Montgomery County editions of the Gazette, this new survey commissioned for Allstate Insurance is pretty interesting:

American drivers believe their own driving knowledge, ability and safe driving habits are well above other drivers on the road. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of American drivers rate themselves as "excellent" or "very good" drivers. American drivers' positive self-rating is more than twice as high as the rating they give to their own close friends (29 percent "excellent" or "very good") and also other people their age (22 percent).

Despite American drivers' confidence in their abilities, many admit to practicing dangerous behaviors on the road.

• Eighty-nine percent say they've driven faster than the posted speed limit, and 40 percent say they've driven more than 20 miles per hour over the limit.
Men are more likely to speed than women (48 percent versus 30 percent).

• Almost half (45 percent) say they have driven while excessively tired – to the point of almost falling asleep.

• Fifteen percent say they have driven while intoxicated, with men almost four times more likely than women to have done so (23 percent of men versus six percent of women).

• More than one-third (34 percent) have sent a text-message or email while driving, but the prevalence of the practice changes by age group. Those 18-29 years of age are the most likely to text while driving (63 percent) with drivers ages 30-44 not far behind (58 percent). Texting while driving decreases with older age groups; only 25 percent of those 45-54, six percent of those 55-64, and two percent of those over 65 admit to the practice.

I'm the first to admit that I have "broken the law" as a bicyclist and as a motor vehicle driver. Given that nationally, over 90% of trips are taken by car, just by percentages alone, drivers are more likely to break the law more often than bicyclists. Given that a car weighs 2,000 pounds or more, motor vehicle accidents are likely to be much more catastrophic.

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