▶️ Bad driving behaviors are up, and so are Oregon traffic deaths

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A new survey of drivers shows dangerous driving behavior is on the rise. This after three years of steady declines in dangerous behavior.

And it’s no different in Oregon. We’ve highlighted some of the incidents Oregon State Police have reported such as people driving way over the speed limit or passing illegally over a double yellow line.

AAA’s Nonprofit foundation for traffic safety found more drivers are speeding, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and running red lights.

Over the last two years, people knowingly driving intoxicated jumped nearly 25%. Running red lights increased more than 10% and driving at least 15 miles over the speed limit increased 12%.

Unsafe Driving Behavior 2018 (%) 2019 (%) 2020 (%) 2021 (%) Change from 2020 to 2021 (%)
Driven 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway 48.9 48.2 45.1 50.7 +12.4
Driven while holding and talking on a cell phone 52.1 43.2 37.2 37.4 +0.5
Driven while reading a text or email on a cell phone 41.3 38.6 33.9 36.2 +6.8
Driven through a red light 31.4 31.1 25.6 28.2 +10.1
Driven aggressively by switching lanes quickly or very close behind another car 24.8 26.5 21.3 22.9 +7.5
Driven when so tired it was hard to keep eyes open 27.0 23.6 17.3 18.8 +8.7
Driven when you had enough alcohol that you thought you were over the legal limit 10.9 9.8 5.9 7.3 +23.7
Driven within an hour of consuming cannabis 6.6 6.5 4.4 5.0 +13.6

The survey also asked drivers what their family might think of that bad behavior behind the wheel.

“And they know that their loved ones, people who care about them would disapprove but we find there is a good chunk of drivers who are doing these behaviors and admit to doing them in the last 30 days,” said Marie Dodds from AAA.

RELATED: ‘No excuse’: OSP hands out whopper of a fine to 100 mph driver

RELATED: Watch: OSP trooper dodges head-on collision with car passing illegally

The increases in dangerous behavior are showing up in the number of fatal crashes in Oregon. 599 people died in traffic crashes in 2021, up 18% from 2020.

AAA says these numbers follow years of declining bad behavior by Oregon drivers.

Oregon Motor Vehicle Crashes
Year Number of people killed in crashes
2021    599*
2020  507
2019   494
2018   502
2017  439
2016  498
2015  445
2014  356
2013  313
2012  336
2011  331
2010  317
2009  377
2008  416
2007  455
2006  477
2005  488
2004  456
2003  512
* preliminary figure
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