Americans Aren't Driving Anymore?

It’s true, driving is on the decline and the weak economy may not be the cause. According to the Department of Transportation, miles driven per American peaked in 2005. Since then, the average miles driven have declined by 8.8%. So, what triggered this decline in driving?

Related: The Dangers of Distracted Driving

U.S. PIRG Education Fund found that the decline in driving does not have any relationship with how the states suffered economically in the last few years. On the other hand, higher gas prices are speculated to have contributed to the declining rates. However, there’s not enough evidence to support the claim.

Today, some consider demographics as the most apparent reason as to why driving is declining. The Department of Transportation (DOT) revealed that drivers aged 35 to 54 are the most important group of drivers. This is because they are in their prime working years. Drivers in this age range drive an average of 15,291 miles per year. However, DOT said that driving rates decline as people settle down for retirement. When Americans reach 55 to 64, they tend to drive fewer than 12,000 miles per year, on average. When drivers reach age 65, their driving miles decrease by half of what they drove in their prime years.

What can we conclude from the declining driving rates?
Does this mean that driving-related accidents would be reduced or prevented? It may but it’s unsure. As we mentioned in a previous post, driving skills are not based on a driver’s age. Their skills rest with his or her ability to drive safely and in compliance with the traffic laws.

Related: Should Older People Stop Driving?

Observing safety laws is still the best way to prevent road accidents. To reiterate, it must start with you, whether you’re the driver or the passenger. You will also need to:

  • Focus on driving, and you’ll help prevent distracted driving.
  • Don’t text or do unnecessary things that may make you lose your concentration.
  • Maintain control and stay calm while driving. This will help prevent aggressive driving and road rage.
  • Always buckle up.
  • Drive sober. Drunk driving in Kentucky is prohibited. Drunk driving is a violation, which means paying a fine, doing community service or license suspension.

As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I encourage everyone to help prevent traffic injuries and fatalities. We don’t need to stop driving, but we need to obey the laws. When we text, are too engaged in a conversation with our passenger or even trying to eat food, we are putting ourselves and others at risk. Driving is meant to be a fun activity, and just because it's been declining recently, doesn't mean we can do risky driving behaviors. If we practice safe driving habits, it will definitely make our roads a safer place.

Michael Schafer
The Personal Injury Attorney for Louisville and Kentucky
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