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Are millennial drivers really more dangerous?

There's no question that millennials have emerged as the scapegoat of choice in the popular press or, at the very least, been portrayed as a generation capable of demonstrating extreme levels of self-interest.

While these sorts of characterizations are, of course, overly broad and largely inaccurate, a recently released study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests that there might be one area in which millennials are perhaps deserving of some level of societal scorn: vehicle safety.

What exactly did this study find?

A survey of 2,511 motorists between the ages of 19 to 24 conducted back in late August through early September determined that 88 percent engaged in some level of risky conduct behind the wheel.

Breaking the numbers down, it found the following:

  • 59.3 percent of millennial drivers confessed to sending a text or typing an email while driving at twice the speed of surrounding traffic.
  • Roughly 50 percent of millennial drivers confessed to running red lights even though they could have easily come to a complete stop.
  • Nearly 12 percent of millennial drivers confessed to thinking it was okay to travel 10 miles-per-hour over the posted speed limit in school zones.

What's behind some of these dangerous behaviors and cavalier attitudes?

One of the theories advanced by both experts -- and even millennials themselves -- is that they are a generation accustomed to instant gratification, such that texts must be answered immediately, locations arrived at as quickly as possible and other interests (i.e., distractions) addressed without delay.

What can be done to address this problem?

According to the executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, younger drivers must be willing to recognize that these habits behind the wheel can have serious and even deadly consequences, and make the necessary changes.

According to the Georgia State Patrol, a good first step for most millennial drivers would be keeping their smartphone out of sight and out of mind by placing it in the glove box or center console.

Please remember to consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options if you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a negligent motorist of any age.

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