NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — A new AAA report shows that dangerous driving behaviors have risen from 2020 to 2021 in North Dakota.

According to a news release, the rise came after three years of a steady decrease.

The increase in risky behaviors includes speeding, running red lights, driving sleepy, and driving impaired.

The most concerning increase was from drivers who admitted to getting behind the wheel after drinking enough to feel as though they were over the legal limit.

“The reversal in the frequency of U.S. drivers engaging in risky driving behavior is disturbing,” said Meredith Mitts, a spokeswoman for AAA. “While drivers acknowledge that certain activities like speeding and driving impaired are not safe, many engage in these activities anyway. This reckless attitude can be life-altering.”

Traffic deaths have continues to rise since COVID began in 2020. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that nearly 43,000 people died in motor vehicle crashes in 2021.

According to the NHTSA, dangerous driving habits count for a considerable number of those deaths.

“Traffic patterns have largely normalized since the start of the pandemic, yet traffic fatalities are at their highest level in nearly two decades,” Mitts continued. “We can reverse this trend if drivers slow down, avoid distractions and never drive impaired.”

Because dangerous driver habits are becoming more common, AAA recommends that drivers make sure that they are protected against those growing risks.

  • Make sure you are protected with insurance coverage.
    • If your policy doesn’t include uninsured motorist coverage or has low minimal liability limits, you could be stuck paying big bills out of pocket.
  • Be mindful of your own habits.
  • Be prepared in the event of a crash.
    • Keep an emergency kit with first-aid and roadside visibility items in your car, a copy of your proof of insurance in your glove box, and your insurance company’s phone number and policy number on your phone.
  • Know what to do when a crash happens.
    • Check for injuries, call 911, and stay at the scene. If there are no injuries and your vehicle to driveable, turn on the hazards and move it to an emergency lane or parking area. If the vehicle is not driveable, turn on the hazards, and move to a spot safely away from traffic. Exchange information with everyone involved, take photos of the location, people involved, and damaged vehicles, and notify your insurance company.
  • Move Over for Me.
    • If you see flashing lights or drive past a crash, slow down and move over a lane to give those involved a safe space along the road.