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 ages 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,” says Jurek Grabowski, research director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “It’s clear that traveling by car remains a central part of American’s lives.”
According to the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Traffic Safety Manager, Anita Lorz Villagrana, “given the extensive time and miles drivers are putting in, they always should be in a safety mindset.”
“Drivers should obey all laws and not speed and should not drive while impaired or distracted,” she added. “Distracted driving is a deadly behavior. Federal estimates suggest that distraction contributes to 16 percent of all fatal crashes, leading to around 5,000 deaths each year.”
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. Other survey findings show that:
• On average, men report driving 2,314 more miles than women per year and spend 18 percent more time behind the wheel.
• More than 86 percent of U.S. households have at least one car for every driver in the home and 28 percent report having more cars than drivers.
• Seniors over the age of 75 drive fewer miles (5,840 annually) than teenagers (7,551 annually). Drivers ages 30-49 drive an average of 13,506 miles annually, more than any other age group.
• Drivers who reported living in rural areas drive more miles (13,029 annually) compared to drivers who live in cities or towns (10,571 annually).
• Motorists in the Midwest and Southern regions drive more (11,295 miles annually) compared to those in the Northeast (9,328 miles annually).
• More than 50 percent of miles driven by Americans are done in cars, followed by SUVs (20 percent), pickup trucks (17 percent) and vans (7.9 percent). Men report doing a much greater share of their driving in pickup trucks compared to women who report doing most of their driving in cars and SUVs.
• Over 66 percent of total driving trips and nearly 62 percent of total miles driven are done by drivers without a passenger in the vehicle. Women are 24 percent more likely than men to have a passenger in the vehicle on any given trip.
• On average, Americans drive the most during the fall (October through December) at 31.5 miles daily and drive the least during the winter (January through March) at 26.2 miles daily.
The new survey results are part of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s annual American Driving Survey, which reveals the driving habits of the American public. The survey data are from a sample of 5,774 drivers who provided information about their daily driving trips in calendar years 2014 and 2015. The AAA Foundation released their first American Driving Survey in 2015.
Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.