Study Shines a Light on the Dangers of Speeding

officer writing driver a ticket

A new study highlighting the perils of speeding on the nation’s highways urges action by policymakers and transportation stakeholders.

Despite the efforts of law enforcement, and to some extent federal regulators, speeding-related crashes overall still account for roughly one-third of all fatalities, according to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association. The group calls speeding a “forgotten traffic safety challenge.”

The study released in late January said: “Overall progress on the issue of speeding has been limited at best.”

The governors’ study contains some new and not-so-new perspectives for convincing drivers of cars and trucks to slow down.

GHSA Study on Speeding by on Scribd

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration said at a conference last month that speeding remains the No. 1 driver-related factor for large trucks and buses in fatal crashes, and through the years speeding has been consistently cited as receiving the most citations during stepped-up enforcement operations conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

And, on Feb. 4, the National Traffic Safety Board also weighed in on the issue, calling for a strategy to reduce speeding-related crashes and including speeding on its Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements.

The study said speeding remains a publicly accepted driving behavior that is reinforced among motorists, policymakers and transportation stakeholders. “Drivers have a minimal perception of risk of either getting a ticket, causing a crash or violating social norms.”

It also said federal, state and local policymakers are approaching speed management in ways that often reflect the current cultural attitude toward speeding.

“Some states are increasing certain speed limits, while others are granting more local discretion to set speeds according to local needs,” the group said. “The federal government should better prioritize speeding as a leading traffic safety issue and create new federal programs to address it.”

Findings from the group’s survey of states in August to determine potential trends regarding speeding-related fatalities included: increased speed limits, limited law enforcement resources, greater distances to and from work or recreational destinations, increased congestion on major roadways that prompts drivers to try to make up time for the perceived time spent in traffic, and higher incidences of distraction among drivers.