Poll: Long Commutes Linked to Higher Rate of Unsafe Behavior

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A recent study found that, at least among New Jersey motorists, drivers with longer commutes tend to engage in more unsafe behavior including talking on the phone, texting, and making rude gestures to other motorists, report news sources.

The study conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University’s PublicMind, and co-sponsored by the New Jersey’s Division of Highway Traffic Safety, polled over 1,000 New Jersey drivers aged 17 and older about their commuting habits. The findings indicate that 61 percent of drivers with a commute of 20 or greater miles drive more than 65 mph on the freeway, as opposed to the 53 percent of motorists with shorter commutes who report driving faster than 65 mph. Of those who don’t drive to work at all, 42 percent said they drive over 65 mph on highways.

When asked about cell phone usage, 19 percent of motorists with a long commute reported talking on a handheld phone “very often” or “sometimes,” compared to 9 percent of drivers who do not commute. However, of drivers with shorter commutes, 17 percent admitted to chatting on a handheld phone, similar to the reports given by long-commute drivers. Both groups of commuters reported similar texting-while-driving habits—32 percent for short commutes, 31 percent for long commutes—making them twice as likely to text behind the wheel as non-commuters (16 percent).

As for highway etiquette, 36 percent of drivers with long commutes copped to having made a rude gesture at another motorist, whereas 25 percent of those who do not drive to work said they’ve made a less than friendly gesture.

As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, I encourage all drivers, regardless of commute length, to stay safe on the roads by avoiding texting and talking on the phone while driving.