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Drivers know the risks, but still drive dangerously

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – We know it’s dangerous, but we’re doing it anyway.

A new traffic safety survey suggests way too many drivers are still taking risks on the road, despite the fact one in three has a loved one who has been hurt or killed in a crash.

Up to half of all drivers surveyed by the American Automobile Association say they engage in dangerous behaviours like running red lights, speeding, and drowsy or distracted driving, even though a majority considers them completely unacceptable on the road.

Karen Bowman with road safety group Drop it and Drive doesn’t know what it will take for people to change their behaviour.

“If I had the answer to that question, I don’t think our organization would be needed anymore,” she tells News1130.

“Seeing this report come out from AAA is honestly quite disheartening. I was always of the belief that if someone truly understood the risks — that their choice behind the wheel could result in injury or death to themselves or somebody else — what person in their right mind would continue with that behaviour? This flies in the face of that!”

Bowman says she is already trying to re-jig the distracted driving seminars Drop It and Drive holds in workplaces and schools too reflect what she calls “the obvious and significant disconnect between risk awareness and acceptance and compliance.”

The seminars include a combination of the science of cognitive distraction, personal stories and graphic explanations of crash scenes from first responders to illustrate the dangers and consequences of risky driving behaviours. Bowman believes it has a powerful effect on their audience.

“Sometimes we get tears. Sometimes we get frustration. Because they just don’t know what to do. But what we really want is for them to take the message forward. Take it home to your family, take it into your community, take it beyond your workplace because the people you love are at risk. If you keep the message to yourself, you’re not going to effect the change we are looking to make.”

Bowman says the very small act of opening your mouth and saying something could literally save a life.