AAA study: Drivers are spending more time on the road
U.S. motorists are spending more time on the road these days, adding about 20 minutes per week of drive time since 2014, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Released this week, the study compares results of two editions of the foundation’s American Driving Survey, from 2014-15 and 2016-17. It concludes that the average American driver’s daily time behind the wheel jumped during those years by more than 6 percent — from 48 minutes to 51 minutes.
“Several factors could be contributing to the increase in time spent behind the wheel, such as higher vehicle ownership and lower gas prices,” said Mark Sisson, vice president of insurance for Pittsburgh-based AAA East Central.
According to Hedges & Company, an Ohio-based automotive digital marketing and research agency, the number of registered vehicles in the United States grew from 252.6 million in 2014 to 276.1 million in 2018.
Other daily driving statistics have increased since 2014, the AAA Foundation study indicates. The number of miles driven has risen by more than 5 percent, from 29.9 to 31.5, and the number of trips is up by nearly 3 percent, from 2.16 to 2.22.
According to the study, motorists in the Northeast drive an average of 51.1 minutes per day, less than their counterparts in the West (58.9 minutes) but more than those in the South (49.9 minutes) or Midwest (44.5 minutes).
Drivers who are 75 or older average 8 minutes a day on the road, a 23 percent increase from 2014.
Men spend 19 percent more time behind the wheel and drive 27 percent more miles than women do, the study notes.
At more than 220 miles per week, Americans are driving an average of 11,498 miles in a year – roughly the same distance they would cover making two round trips between Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
The U.S. driving population increased by 3.6 million, or about 1.6 percent, to 225.8 million. Of all the regions, only the Midwest saw a decrease in drivers, by 3 percent, the study indicates.
The AAA Foundation survey sampled 11,804 drivers on randomly selected days between Jan. 1, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2017.
Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .