Newark, NJ- We all know that drunken driving is risky and has troublesome legal consequences, but that doesn’t appear to be a deterrent for many drivers.  As law enforcement agencies in New Jersey ramp up their efforts to catch drunken drivers over the long Labor Day weekend, new data indicates that Americans are less concerned about intoxicated driving and other hazardous driving behaviors than in previous years, according to a new study from AAA.

Every fifteen minutes and American dies in a traffic collision. Of those fatal accidents, approximately one-third are caused by intoxicated driving, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This used to be a concern for Americans but it has waned over the years despite high profile campaigns aimed at curbing intoxicated driving.

After analyzing data from several surveys and studies conducted over the past few years, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that Americans are becoming more complacent about risky driving behaviors such as intoxicated driving, drowsy driving, distracted driving, running red lights and speeding.

According to AAA’s analysis, in 2009, 90 percent of Americans believed that drunken driving was a threat to public safety compared to 2012 when only 69 percent believed driving under the influence was dangerous.

Concern over the dangers of distracted driving and drowsy driving declined as well, even though these behaviors are just as dangerous as intoxicated driving. Those who saw drowsy driving as a danger declined from 71 percent in 2009 to 46 percent in 2012.

Cell phones and smart phones present many distractions for drivers and texting is among the most distracting behaviors a driver engages in, but Americans’ concerns over this risky behavior declined from 87 percent in 2009 to 81 percent in 2012.

Why this dramatic decline in apprehension about risky driving practices?

Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of AAFTS explains, “A ‘do as I say, not as I do’ attitude remains common with many motorists consistently admitting to engaging in the same dangerous behaviors for which they would condemn other drivers.”

The number of fatal traffic collisions comports with AAAFTS’s data. In 2012, there was a 5.6 percent increase in deadly traffic collision representing the first rise in seven years.

A NHTSA study from 2010 found that 1 in 12 drivers admitted to driving drunk at least one during the course of their driving years. And 1 in 5 admitted to driving within two hours after having a drink. These may appear to be stunning statistics, but the fact is many people don’t realize how little alcohol it takes to put them over the legal limit.

A woman weighing 140 lbs. can register a 0.025 on a breathalyzer after consuming 10 ounces of wine over a three hour period.  The average man weighing 160 lbs. will have BAC of .013 after drinking just 3 beers over a 3 hour period. While a driver may not feel intoxicated, their level of blood alcohol can be well over the legal limit. If a driver has the misfortune of being stopped they could spend the night in jail and that is just the beginning of their legal troubles, which can only be negated with the help of a New Jersey DUI attorney.