Life in the fast lane

AMA Foundation for Traffic Safety study reveals double standard on speeding and other behaviours

A new survey commissioned by the AMA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals a concerning double standard when it comes to speeding, with many drivers not adhering to the very laws they claim to support.

According to the report, which surveyed a provincially representative sample across Alberta:

  • 82% of Albertans say speeding is “never acceptable” on residential roads, even as 52% admit to doing it
  • 18% of Albertans say speeding is never acceptable on highways, but 91% per cent admit to doing it
  • 95% of Albertans say speeding is never acceptable in a school zone, while 29% admit to doing it

“There’s a real disconnect between Albertans’ concerns around traffic safety overall and their own admitted behaviours while behind the wheel,” says Jeff Kasbrick, vice-president of government and stakeholder relations for the Alberta Motor Association. “With speeding, this study paints an unfortunate picture of, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ The first step in making our roads safer begins with our own actions.”

The survey also uncovered notable insights about Albertans’ perceptions of well-known road risks:

  • Nearly half of Albertans see the issue of drinking and driving as only a slight threat or not a threat at all to their personal safety (34% and 15%, respectively)
  • More than half of Albertans are unconcerned about people using cannabis before driving (31 per cent slight threat, 23 per cent not a threat).

“In one sense, this result can be taken as good news: the average Albertan doesn’t believe they’re at risk of impaired driving on Alberta roads,” says Kasbrick. “However, we can’t become complacent. Impaired driving, whether alcohol or drug-related, is a far too present reality on Alberta roads, and a very serious traffic safety issue.”

Finally, the survey looked at Albertans’ perceptions of safety versus three years ago and found:

  • 49 per cent of people believe road rage incidents are worse today
  • 57 per cent believe aggressive driving is worse today
  • 72 per cent believe distracted driving is worse today

Few, however, see their own actions as a contributing factor: more than six in 10 Albertans rate themselves as more careful than other drivers, and a third rate themselves as similarly careful.

“People often think of driving as a mundane task when, in actual fact, it’s probably the riskiest activity we do in a day,” says Kasbrick. “We should always keep this front of mind when we’re behind the wheel. We’re all equal contributors to our driving community and by modelling good driving behaviour, we inspire others to do the same.”

I’m a former journalist, current AMA communications specialist, and future backup dancer for Beyonce. I’m passionate about helping members, riding motorcycles and eliminating all traces of cilantro from food.