A new survey finds we are growing less concerned about dangerous driving behaviors.

Flickr User Jason Weaver

An analysis of four years of public surveys by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds Americans are less likely to perceive a serious threat from dangerous behaviors in moving vehicles, such as drunk, aggressive or drowsy driving.

The decreased concern is accompanied by an estimated 5.3 percent increase in annual traffic fatalities, totaling more than 34,000 last year.

“Motorists may be growing more complacent about potential safety risks behind the wheel,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

She said a "do as I say, not as I do" attitude remains common with many motorists consistently admitting to engaging in the same dangerous behaviors for which they would condemn other drivers.

The survey finds:

  • The number of people who believe driving after drinking is a serious threat declined from a near universal 90 percent in 2009 to 69 percent in 2012.
  • The number of people who consider drowsy driving a very serious threat declined from 71 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2012.
  • The number of people who believe that texting or emailing while driving is a very serious threat declined from 87 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2012. The number of people who admit to texting while driving increased from 21 percent to 26 percent during the same period.
  • The number of people who consider red-light running to be completely unacceptable declined from 77 percent in 2009 to 70 percent in 2012. More than one-third (38 percent) admitted to running a red light within the previous month.

“We have made great strides in recent years to reduce road deaths, but there are still too many needless fatalities caused by dangerous driving. It is clear that more must be done to address the dangers of drunk, aggressive and drowsy driving to stem this concerning trend,” said Noble.

Someone dies on America’s roadways every 15 minutes.  More than 2.3 million people annually also suffer serious injuries from crashes.