My wife and I are in the process of relocating to the Shreveport/Bossier area.  This past weekend I was in my hometown of Terrell, Texas, attending my grandmother's 98th birthday party with my extended family.  My brother used to be a truck driver, and he asked me, "Are the roads and drivers still bad in Shreveport?"

Now, I've lived in a number of states during my career, and drivers are pretty bad everywhere.  But since most of my driving here is done on I-20, I've witnessed some crazy stuff.  Every day someone passes me going at least 90 mph.  The 50 mph signs down around the river might as well not exist, because most people don't slow down a lick.  And almost every day somebody is inching into my lane because they're gawking at their cellphone.  So, if anything, I think drivers are worse than they've every been.

And it's not my imagination.  According to the National Safety Council, which gets its data from state statistics, in 2015 highway fatalities recorded the highest percentage increase in 50 years   And last year, the percentage went up another 6 percent.

And it's going to get worse.  The main culprit:  Millennials.  The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety just released its annual Traffic Safety Culture Index which surveys over 2,500 drivers.  Among the findings:

  • Drivers aged 19-24 admit to typing or reading a text or email message more than twice as much as other drivers.
  • Not surprisingly, these drivers are more likely to find that texting while driving is acceptable.
  • Almost half of drivers 19-24 say they've run a red light.  Compare that to 36 percent of the general population (which is in itself alarming.)

But it's not just Millennials.

  • Nearly half of all drivers say they've gone at least 10 miles over the speed limit in a residential area.
  • 92% of drivers say it's unacceptable run a red light when you could have stopped, yet 36% admit that they've done just that in the past month.

Speeding and distracted driving are a deadly combination.  The facts bear it out.  But neither is going to slow down soon.  More than two thirds of respondents to the survey are opposed to the installation of speed cameras on freeways and more than half oppose them on residential streets.

My belief is that people just basically want to do whatever they want while they're in their cars and nobody can tell them differently.  They're basically saying, "It's my road, I'm just allowing you to drive on it; so, get the hell out of my way."




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