Speeding is typically defined as exceeding a speed limit, but it can also mean driving at the speed limit but too fast for road conditions. Between 2009 and 2018, speeding-related crashes resulted in nearly 100,000 fatalities-that’s close to one-third of all traffic fatalities in the United States.
The true extent of the problem is likely underestimated because the reporting of speeding-related crashes is inconsistent. Speeding can result in loss of vehicle control, which increases both the likelihood of a crash and the severity of injuries sustained. Higher vehicle speeds lead to larger changes in velocity, which, in turn, lead to higher injury severity-that’s just basic science.
Speed-limiters on large trucks, automated enforcement, expert speed analysis tools, and education campaigns are underused in our communities. These critical tools and strategies must be implemented to address this safety problem.
Lessons Learned: NTSB Investigations
The following study and accident best exemplify why this safety improvement is needed.
Safety Study: Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes
Involving Passenger Vehicles | July 2017
Motorcoach Run-Off-the-Road and Collision with Vertical Highway Signpost, Interstate 95 Southbound
New York, NY | March 2011
Stats to Know
Fatalities from speeding-related crashes in 2018 (Source: NHTSA)
Major accidents investigated by the NTSB between 1967 and 2018 in which speeding was cited as a safety issue or a causal or contributing factor
Our Solutions . . . Take Action Now!
Legislation, technology, and education are the keys to addressing this societal problem.
- Develop performance standards for advanced speed-limiting technology, such as variable speed limiters and intelligent speed adaptation devices, for heavy vehicles, including trucks, buses, and motorcoaches. Then require that all newly manufactured heavy vehicles be equipped with such devices.
- Collaborate with traffic safety stakeholders to develop and implement an ongoing program to increase public awareness of speeding as a national traffic safety issue.
- Revise regulations to strengthen requirements for all speed engineering studies and remove the guidance that speed limits in speed zones be within 5 mph of the 85th percentile speed.
- Update speed enforcement guidelines to reflect the latest automated speed enforcement technologies and operating practices and promote these guidelines.
- States should:
- Amend current laws to authorize state and local agencies to use automated speed enforcement and amend current laws to remove operational and location restrictions on the use of automated speed enforcement.
- Follow the speed limit.
- Slow down during bad weather, when a road is under repair, in poorly lit areas at night, or in other challenging driving conditions.
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Updated April 6, 2021