What If You Could Make The Rules Of The Road?
If you had to rate your driving skills on a scale of 1 to 10, what number would you give yourself? Do you follow every rule of the road? Are driving below the speed limit and stopping at red lights non-negotiable? A lot of people would consider themselves to be pretty safe drivers, but according to a survey conducted by AAA, around 87 percent of people partake in some unsafe behaviors while driving.
Whether it’s texting on the phone or speeding through a school zone, there are a multitude of risky driving habits we usually end up paying for. In a 2011 survey, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reported about 42 percent of civilian-to-officer contact occurred due to traffic stops. Of that 42 percent, half received a traffic ticket. But what if you couldn’t get a ticket for your dicey driving habits? If the laws as we know them didn’t exist, would you still drive the same way? We surveyed 2,028 Americans to find out how their driving habits would change if there were no consequences for their actions. Keep your hands on the wheel to see what we discovered.
Hit-and-Run Hot Spots
If you’ve ever been a victim of a hit-and-run, you know they are incredibly frustrating. Unless you’ve got the best policy and know insurance like the back of your hand, it’s likely you’ll face higher costs if you get into an accident with a person who takes off. Hit-and-run fatalities have been on the rise since 2009, and if every traffic law disappeared overnight, it would probably be a good idea to stay out of these states.
If you were in an accident in South Carolina or Kansas and there were no traffic laws, over 30 percent of drivers would flee the scene. Louisiana, Rhode Island, and Nebraska don’t fare too well either – around a quarter of residents would not cooperate in an accident. Luckily, Kentucky and Arizona possess a relatively sound moral compass, with less than 5 percent of respondents saying they would leave the scene of an accident if they weren’t required by law to stop.
Foregoing Car Insurance
Would you still have car insurance if you weren’t required by law to do so? It turns out, most participants would carry insurance on their vehicle even if it wasn’t against the law to waive coverage. The cost of an accident is a lot more than the cost of having insurance. In 2013, the average liability claim for bodily injury was over $15,000 as opposed to the average cost of insurance being a little under $1,000 a year.
Having auto insurance gives you peace of mind in “what if” situations. Even though there would be no chance of receiving a ticket, the majority of respondents agree it just isn’t worth not having. Men between the ages of 25 and 34 proved to be the most daring, with around 28 percent saying they would skip the insurance premium if the law books vanished overnight.
Smoking Weed Behind the Wheel
Next, participants were asked if they would smoke marijuana while driving if traffic laws did not exist. Broken down by age, less than 30 percent of respondents aged 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 would drive under the influence of marijuana if there were no legal consequences. Each subsequent age group responded “Yes” with less frequency, though, with fewer than 3 percent of those aged 65 to 74 willing to light up.
However, percentages were relatively low across each age group, indicating participants may already know the dangers of driving under the influence of marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana can impair drivers’ coordination and judgment, as well as their reaction time. People involved in vehicle crashes with THC in their system are three to seven times more likely to be responsible for the accident than those who don’t have it in their system.
Alcohol In The Automobile
Even though drinking and driving accounts for almost a third of traffic-related deaths in the U.S., some people would drink and drive if they knew they wouldn’t get pulled over. Nearly 23 percent of participants between the ages of 25 and 34 said they would drink and drive. Perhaps they’re unaware of the fact that someone is injured in a drunk driving incident every two minutes.
Acceptable Alcohol Levels
The worst part about going out to drink may be figuring out who is going to drive home. Thankfully, there’s enough information available today to convince people drinking and driving is dangerous. It could cost you thousands of dollars, your car, and even someone’s life.
The standard chart for determining BAC levels shows that, depending on the person’s size and gender, the majority of people can handle between two and four alcoholic beverages before reaching the national blood alcohol limit of .08. Most people (about 64 percent of men and nearly 65 percent of women) thought this was a reasonable limit. For detractors, however, women seemed to want the rules to be a bit stricter, while men wanted the freedom to drink a couple more glasses before getting behind the wheel. In both cases, less than 1 percent of those surveyed thought these laws should be abolished altogether, although it might be worth mentioning about twice as many men as women found this idea appealing.
Setting the Speed Limit
How often do you speed on the highway? Nearly half of drivers have sped on the highway before, and 1 in 4 think it’s OK to do so, according to an AAA report. We asked participants what they thought the speed limit on the highway should be. Most people were fine with keeping the highway speed limit as it is – or no faster than 70 mph – which is a common speed limit on rural interstates across the U.S.
By age, those 25 to 34 most believed highway speed limits were unnecessary altogether. No survey respondents over the age of 54 shared this belief, though. Over half of those aged 65 or older believed current traffic laws worked just fine, compared to just 30 percent of respondents between the ages of 25 and 34.
It’s common knowledge you’re much more likely to sustain a fatal injury in a car accident if you’re not strapped in. A CDC study found more than half of teens and adults aged 20 to 44 who died in crashes in 2014 were not wearing a seat belt. Does information like this affect public opinion toward seat belt laws? We asked participants if they believed these restraints should be optional.
When considering the top 10 states with the highest percentage of people who would make seat belts optional, over 58 percent of respondents in New Hampshire, the only state without mandatory safety belt laws, believed seat belts should not be required. Half of the participants in Rhode Island and Nebraska also believed the same. North Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and South Carolina – all states with around a third of residents who felt seat belts should be optional – also appeared on The Huffington Post’s top 10 list for the most dangerous states to drive in.
Keeping to the Rules
A vast majority of participants would choose to follow the law even if there weren’t consequences. Our safety is important, and following the rules put in place makes it easier to live another day.
Sometimes, a text or phone call may distract us, but it shouldn’t be intentional or continuous. Driving unsafe not only can cause harm to you, someone else, or your vehicle but also can make your car insurance skyrocket. At CheapCarInsurance.net, we have tons of information on how to keep your insurance rates low and affordable, without the risk of being caught.
We surveyed 2,028 American drivers 18 and older. Survey participants were asked how they would drive if there were no traffic laws or no chance of being penalized for their actions. They were also asked how they would structure the laws if given the opportunity. Using this data, we visualized the responses and segmented it by demographics.
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