On average, Americans drive 29.2 miles per day, making two trips with an average total duration of 46 minutes. This and other revealing data are the result of a ground-breaking study currently underway by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the Urban Institute.
The Foundation’s new American Driving Survey offers the most up-to-date, comprehensive look at how much Americans drive on a daily and yearly basis. First-year data, collected May 2013 through May 2014, is available now from the ongoing study, which will set the benchmark for future data and ultimately reveal trends in Americans’ driving habits.
“This is the first ongoing study that provides a look at when and how much Americans are driving,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public and Legislative Affairs for AAA Northeast. “Existing federal data with this level of detail was last released in 2009, eight years after the previous release. This substantially limits the extent to which we can use existing data to draw conclusions about Americans’ current driving habits.”
The first-year results of the American Driving Survey revealed that:
- Motorists age 16 years and older drive, on average, 29.2 miles per day or 10,658 miles per year.
- Women take more driving trips, but men spend 25 percent more time behind the wheel and drive 35 percent more miles than women.
- Both teenagers and seniors over the age of 75 drive less than any other age group; motorists 30-49 years old drive an average 13,140 miles annually, more than any other age group.
- The average distance and time spent driving increase in relation to higher levels of education. A driver with a grade school or some high school education drove an average of 19.9 miles and 32 minutes daily, while a college graduate drove an average of 37.2 miles and 58 minutes.
- Drivers who reported living “in the country” or “a small town” drive greater distances (12,264 miles annually) and spend a greater amount of time driving than people who described living in a “medium sized town” or city (9,709 miles annually).
- Motorists in the South drive the most (11,826 miles annually), while those in the Northeast drive the least (8,468 miles annually).
- On average, Americans drive fewer miles on the weekend than on weekdays.
- Americans drive, on average, the least during winter months (January through March) at 25.7 miles daily; they drive the most during the summer months (July through September) at 30.6 miles daily.
“This new data, when combined with available crash data, will allow us to conduct unique, timely studies on crash rates for the first time,” continued Mary Maguire. “This will allow us to identify specific problems and evaluate various safety countermeasures to a degree never before possible.”
Results from the American Driver Survey were based on telephone interviews with a nationwide sample of 3,319 drivers who reported detailed information about all their driving trips taken the day before the interview. Data collection is ongoing; the information reported in the first-year results was collected between May 21, 2013 and May 31, 2014. The full results from the inaugural American Driving Survey are available online at www.aaafoundation.org.