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2002 Nerves of Steel Survey Reveals Driver Safety and Rudeness Improving on America's Highways

May 21, 2002

TheSteelAlliance, representing the North American steel producers, announced May 21 the results of their driver safety and rudeness survey. According to the fourth annual Nerves of Steel survey, Americans overall are not as aggressive on the road as they have been in the past as driver safety and rudeness continue to improve. The results were announced at the American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI) Annual General Meeting in Chicago. In addition, the survey determined that Seattle is the safest and most polite city in the U.S. when it comes to driving. Boston is still home to the most aggressive drivers even though the city was the most improved in terms of safety from last year’s survey. The survey concluded that Miami’s drivers have earned the title of rudest drivers in the nation. The Nerves of Steel survey also revealed that consumers understand that steel plays a key role in automobile safety. When asked what items and/or devices provide themselves and their families the best protection in an automobile accident, drivers across the nation’s top three choices were seat belts (88%), steel frames (84%) and steel side-impact beams (77%). "This survey confirms that Americans feel much safer driving a car that has been made with safety in mind, and that means one built with steel," said Bill Heenan, president, TheSteelAlliance. "A car’s steel frame is the last line of defense in helping to protect families from injury or death in an accident. The steel industry conducted this survey to educate drivers so they can be more courteous to each other on the road, which will hopefully result in fewer accidents." Global Strategy Group say they conducted the Nerves of Steel survey by telephone in the spring of 2002 among drivers across the nation. Additional drivers were surveyed in 10 cities, including Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle and Denver. Seattle and Denver were added to the survey in 2002. A total of 2,000 participants with valid driver’s licenses were asked a series of questions about driving habits, including their own actions while on the road. The questions highlighted issues of safety, aggressiveness and rudeness. Based on the results of the survey, safety and rudeness grades were assigned to each city. According to the survey, across all cities surveyed in 2002, safe driving is on the rise. Five cities, including Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Miami, significantly improved their safety grades over the past year. The 2002 Nerves of Steel survey revealed that the city with the most aggressive and unsafe drivers among the 10 surveyed was Boston, which earned a C for safety. In the month prior to the survey, 44 percent of Boston’s drivers had committed at least four or more aggressive acts on the road, including tailgating, speeding and waiting until the last second to merge. Although Boston is considered the most aggressive and unsafe city of the survey, the city earned the title of most improved for safe driving in 2002 after scoring a failing grade in the 2001 survey, according to the study. According to drivers in Seattle, the West Coast is home to the safest roads in America. Seattle’s drivers earned an A in safety, with only 23 percent of its drivers committing excessive acts of aggression on the road. Other cities with safe drivers included Detroit, Cleveland, Chicago and Los Angeles. The study also showed that fifty-seven percent of drivers in Miami, the highest percentage of all 10 cities surveyed, believe that the drivers in their city are ruder than drivers in other cities. Miami received an F and Miami’s female drivers outranked their male counterparts in nine of 13 rudeness driving categories. Aside from Miami’s F, rudeness grades continue to improve in 2002. Three cities raised their grades and five retained their grades from the 2001 survey. Seattle, this year’s safest city, also is the 2002 winner for the most polite city. Only 11 percent of drivers in Seattle feel that they are ruder than drivers in other cities. Other polite cities include Cleveland, Denver, Detroit and Dallas. Los Angeles drivers were the most improved in the rudeness ranking, raising their grade from a D to a B. Despite this general trend towards more tolerance on the road, Capital Beltway drivers may soon be on their way to earning the title of the rudest drivers in the country. Drivers in Washington, D.C. were the only drivers to lower their rudeness grade over the past year. "While great strides have been made among drivers to improve safety and rudeness on the nation’s highways, we must remember that all drivers can contribute to even greater improvements in driver safety," said Heenan. "We all need to slow down, be more courteous, and refrain from other distractions while driving. It’s also very important to remember that if an aggressive driver bothers you, don’t escalate the situation. These drivers are already very dangerous."The Nerves of Steel survey also revealed that 58 percent of drivers believe that talking on a cell phone without a headset while driving is very dangerous. Although this is considered to be a dangerous act while driving, 36 percent of consumers admit to doing it themselves. In an effort to make our roads safer and more polite, TheSteelAlliance encourages consumers to log on to to sign a pledge to drive safely. Upon signing the pledge, consumers will automatically be entered into a sweepstakes to win one of 20 emergency roadside kits. Kits include first aid supplies, a flashlight, help flag and other helpful tools. The sweepstakes begins on Tuesday, May 21, 2002 and ends on Saturday, June 29, 2002. About TheSteelAlliance TheSteelAlliance is a coalition of more than 110 producers and affiliated organizations that came together for the first time in 1997 to launch a nationwide consumer campaign about the benefits of steel. Visit for more information about the 2002 Nerves of Steel survey.
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