Driving
Americans Spend an Average of 17,600 Minutes Driving Each Year

American drivers spend an average of more than 17,600 minutes behind the wheel each year, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The research finds that more than 87.5 percent of Americans aged 16 years and older reported driving in the past year. During this time, drivers travelled nearly 10,900 miles on average and spent more than 290 hours on the road.

“The amount of time the average driver spends behind the wheel each year is equivalent to seven 40-hour weeks at the office,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “It’s clear that traveling by car remains a central part of American’s lives.”The American Driving Survey is the most current and comprehensive look at how much Americans drive on a daily and yearly basis. It revealed that Americans drove a total of 2.45 trillion miles last year, which is a 2.4 percent increase from 2014.

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unsecure_cargo Road debris

A new report by AAA shows that debris that has fallen from a vehicle, is a factor in more than 200,000 police-reported crashes. Those crashes included 500 people who died and about 39,000 injuries between the years 2011 and 2014.

According to the Traffic Safety Study, about two-thirds of debris-related crashes are the result of items falling from a vehicle because of improper maintenance and unsecured loads. And since 2001, when the Foundation first issued its study, crashes involving vehicle related-debris have increased 40% .

  • The most common types of debris that fall onto the roadway from vehicles are:
  • Parts, such as tires, wheels or hubcaps  that become detached from the vehicle;
  • Unsecured cargo such as  furniture, appliances and other items; and
  • Tow trailers that become separated and either hit another vehicle or lands on the roadway.

“This new report shows that road debris can be extremely dangerous but all of these crashes are preventable,” said Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Drivers can easily save lives and prevent injuries by securing their loads and taking other simple precautions to prevent items from falling off the vehicle.”

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Ocean City, MD

Memorial Day travel volume will be second-highest on record

AAA projects more than 38 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend. That is the second-highest Memorial Day travel volume on record and the most since 2005. Spurred by the lowest gas prices in more than a decade, about 700,000 more people will travel compared to last year. The Memorial Day holiday travel period is defined as Thursday, May 26 to Monday, May 30.

“Americans are eagerly awaiting the start of summer and are ready to travel in numbers not seen in more than a decade,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “The great American road trip is officially back thanks to low gas prices, and millions of people from coast to coast are ready to kick off summer with a Memorial Day getaway.”

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Fatal-Road-Crashes-Involving-Marijuana-Double-After-State-Legalizes-Drug

New AAA Foundation Research Also Shows that Legal Limits for Marijuana and Driving are Meaningless (Image via AAA)

New AAA Foundation Research Also Shows that Legal Limits for Marijuana and Driving are Meaningless

Fatal crashes involving drivers who recently used marijuana doubled in Washington after the state legalized the drug, according to the latest research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. New research also shows that legal limits for marijuana and driving are arbitrary and unsupported by science, which could result in unsafe motorists going free and others being wrongfully convicted for impaired driving. Washington was one of the first two states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, and these findings raise serious concerns about drug-impaired driving with at least 20 states considering marijuana legalization this year.

The Foundation examined drug tests and fatal crashes among drivers in Washington, a state that legalized marijuana in December 2012.

The researchers found:

  • The percentage of drivers involved in fatal crashes who recently used marijuana more than doubled from eight to 17 percent between 2013 and 2014.
  • One in six drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had recently used marijuana, which is the most recent data available.

“The significant increase in fatal crashes involving marijuana is alarming,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Washington serves as an eye-opening case study for what other states may experience with road safety after legalizing the drug.”

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AAA: More Than One-Third of Americans Will Take a Family Vacation This Year

As families across the country eagerly await the end of school and the beginning of summer, millions of Americans are making plans to travel with loved ones this year. According to a recent AAA survey, more than one-third of Americans (35 percent) are planning to take a family vacation of 50 miles or more away from home involving two or more immediate family members in the next 12 months.

AAA estimates that U.S. drivers have saved nearly $12 billion on gas so far this year compared to the same period in 2015, and drivers this summer should pay the lowest gas prices in 12 years. These lower gas prices have helped motivate Americans to drive at record levels, and prompted many families to take road trips this year. Fifty-five percent of Americans say they are more likely to take a road trip this year due to lower gas prices.

Road trips (69 percent), national parks (49 percent) and theme parks (42 percent) are the most popular types of vacations for families planning to travel in the next year. Vacations to international destinations (26 percent) and cruises (19 percent) round out the top five most popular vacation options for traveling families.

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Gas prices
Gas prices start 2016 as lowest since 2009

Gas prices rang in the New Year by reaching the lowest average price ($1.997) for the holiday since 2009. Today’s average price of $1.99 per gallon is the cheapest average since March 25, 2009, and the national average has moved lower for 50 of the past 59 days, largely due to an abundance of crude oil. Pump prices are discounted by fractions of a penny on the week, by five cents per gallon on the month, and are down by 22 cents on the year.

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Liberty Gas Station in Alexandria, VA
Gas prices continue to fall across the country

Drivers paid the lowest averages for the Christmas holiday since 2009, and pump prices continue to hover around the $2 benchmark. Retail averages have fallen for 45 of the past 52 days, and despite prices moving higher by fractions of a penny on the week, today’s average price of $1.999 is the lowest for this date since the Great Recession. Monthly and yearly discounts persist, and consumers are saving five cents per gallon versus one month ago, and 30 cents per gallon versus this same date last year.   (more…)

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