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Watch out for millennial drivers, study says

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File photo The Wichita Eagle

A specific group of young drivers are much more likely to engage in dangerous behavior behind the wheel, according to a new study by AAA.

The study, released Wednesday, found that close to 90 percent of millennial drivers – defined in the study as those between the ages of 19 and 24 – engaged in at least one “risky behavior” behind the wheel in the 30 days prior to being surveyed.

The risky behaviors included texting while driving, speeding and running red lights, according to the study. While younger drivers were found to be more likely to engage in such behaviors, they were not the only age group doing so.

For all other age ranges studied, between 67 and 79 percent had engaged in at least one risky behavior in the previous 30 days.

“As disturbing as this may be, equally disturbing is the fact that the millennials behaving badly are hardly alone,” said Jim Hanni, a spokesman for AAA Kansas, in a news release.

As disturbing as this may be, equally disturbing is the fact that the millennials behaving badly are hardly alone.

Jim Hanni, AAA Kansas

When asked, millennial drivers were found to be roughly twice as likely as drivers from all other age categories to say they had typed or sent a text message or e-mail while driving in the previous 30 days. Half of the millennial motorists polled also said they had driven through a red light in the previous month.

“Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said David Yang, executive director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in the release. “It’s critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors.”

The youngest drivers in the survey, however, were far less likely (69 percent) to reveal that they engaged in risky driving behaviors during the previous 30 days. The safest driver was found to be those between the ages of 60 and 74.

The annual study, which polled more than 2,500 drivers, was commissioned by the AAA Foundation. The first such study came out in 2008.

Did you know that when you send or receive a text you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds? At 55 mph, that's like driving the length of an entire football field, blindfolded. (Courtesy of NHTSA)

Bryan Horwath: 316-269-6708, @bryan_horwath

Drivers who reported speeding, running a light or texting in past 30 days

▪ Ages 19-24: 88 percent

▪ Ages 25-39: 79 percent

▪ Ages 40-59: 75 percent

▪ Ages 16-18: 69 percent

▪ Ages 75 and up: 69 percent

▪ Ages 60-74: 67 percent

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

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