Americans Spending More Time – 70 Billion Hours – Behind the Wheel

Survey shows an eight percent increase since 2014

woman smiling in convertible

If you feel like you’ve been spending more time in your car, you may be right.  Compared to 2014, Americans are spending an additional 20 minutes driving each week, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  Over the course of the year, Americans collectively spent 70 billion hours behind the wheel, which is an eight percent increase since 2014.  At more than 220 miles per week, Americans are driving an average of 11,498 miles each year – the equivalent of making two roundtrip drives from San Francisco to Washington, D.C.

“Several factors could be contributing to the increase in time spent behind the wheel, such as higher vehicle ownership and lower gas prices,” says Mark Sisson, vice president of insurance for AAA East Central.  “More time behind the wheel means a greater exposure to risks on the roadway, so motorists should regularly review their insurance options to make sure they are well-covered in the instance of an unavoidable crash.” 

The AAA Foundation’s American Driving Survey shows that on average, U.S. drivers spend nearly an hour behind the wheel each day and travel 31.5 miles- a five percent increase from 2014.  

Driving Data Point

2014-2015

2016-2017

Percent change

Number of driving trips/day

2.16

2.22

2.8% (+)

Time spent driving (minutes)/day

48.0

51.0

6.3% (+)

Number of miles driven/day

29.9

31.5

5.4% (+)

Driving Population (millions)

222.2

225.8

1.6% (+)

Other survey findings show that:

  • Men spend 19 percent more time behind the wheel and drive 27 percent more miles than women.
  • People who are married or living with a partner spend at least 12 percent more time driving than those who are not.
  • Drivers aged 75+ are spending, on average 34.8 minutes a day driving- a 23 percent increase from 2014. 

For motorists looking to ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage, AAA East Central offers free insurance reviews to members and the general public.  Motorists can call their local branch for more information, or visit AAA.com/Insurance.

About the study:  The new results are part of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s American Driving Survey, which reveals the driving habits of the American public. The survey data are from a representative sample of 11,804 drivers who provided information about their driving on randomly selected days between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2017.  

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety:  Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization.  The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur.  This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users.  Visit www.AAAFoundation.org

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 80 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members.  News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com.  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

For More Information, Contact:
Jim Garrity, Public & Community Relations Manager
Desk: 412-365-7274 / Cell: 412-905-9021 / Email: Garrity.James@aaaec.com

-AAA-