Despite the fact that one in three motorists have had a loved one who was seriously injured or killed in a crash, many still admit that they run red lights, speed, use distracting devices and drive drowsy, according to the AAA Foundation's latest Traffic Safety Culture Index.

Distracted driving. (Martinan, ThinkStock)

In fact, one in five drivers nationwide, including 24 percent of New Jersey drivers, have  been involved in a serious crash in the past two years.

"It is discouraging that we continue to see a prevailing attitude of 'do as I say, not as I do' when such a large number of motorists seem to understand the dangers involved in certain behaviors and they go ahead and take part in them anyway," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  "We need to see a cultural shift in society and that needs to begin with each individual.  We should be setting an example for other drivers and passengers, especially young passengers, so that these statistics don't continue. These behaviors are very simple to stop."

The survey found the prevalence of unsafe driving behaviors during the past 30 days are widespread nationwide and in New Jersey, including:

Red Light Running:

  • Nationwide:  36 percent of drivers admit to running red lights, while 94 percent say it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior;
  • New Jersey:  37 percent of drivers admit to running red lights, while 95 percent believe it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior;
  • Speeding (10+ miles per hour) on residential streets;
  • Nationwide: 44 percent report speeding, while 90 percent say it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior;
  • New Jersey:  58 percent reprot speeding, yet 84 percent say it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior.

Drowsy driving:

  • Nationwide: 3 in 10 drivers, 29 percent, admit to drowsy driving, 96 percent believe it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior;
  • New Jersey:  35 percent admit to drowsy driving, 98 percent believe it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior.

Texting/emailing:

  • Nationwide: 27 percent report typing or sending a text or email, 96 percent say it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior;
  • New Jersey: 30 percent report typing or sending a text or email, 98 percent belive it is somewhat or completely unacceptable behavior

When it comes to specific distracted driving behaviors in the past 30 days, nationwide:

  • 2 in 3 driver reported talking on their cell phone;
  • 1 in 3 driver reported talking on their cell phone often;
  • 1 in 3 drivers admit to reading a text message or email.

According to the survey, two out of three drivers believe hands-free phone use is unacceptable and nearly half, or 46 percent, who use speech-based in-vehicle systems say they do not believe the systems are distracting.