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Implement a Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Speeding-Related Crashes
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 Implement a Comprehensive Strategy to Reduce Speeding-Related Crashes

Speeding-Related Crashes header graphic

What is the problem?

Speeding increases the likelihood of being involved in a crash and intensifies the severity of injuries sustained in a crash. Proven countermeasures against speeding—automated enforcement technology, vehicle technology and design, and education campaigns—are underused, which leads to more frequent speeding. And, because posted speed limits are predominantly based on observed operating speeds, widespread speeding can lead to an undesirable cycle of higher speed limits, still higher operating speeds, and increased fatalities.

Despite these risks, exceeding the posted speed limit has become an accepted way of driving on our nation’s roadways. Unlike impaired driving, speeding is not socially unacceptable, which may be one reason speeding-related fatalities have increased in recent years—drivers may underestimate the risks associated with it. After reaching a low of 9,283 fatalities in 2014, speeding-related traffic fatalities increased to 9,723 in 2015 and 10,111 in 2016.

Although research shows speeding impacts all road users, it is particularly dangerous for the most vulnerable, such as pedestrians and bicyclists. Motorcyclists are not exempt from the risks associated with speeding, and they represent a disproportionate number of crashes.

What can be done?

In 2017, we completed a special study on speeding (SS1701), highlighting several speeding-related crashes that could have been avoided and calling for greater use of proven effective countermeasures.

To address the problem of speeding, the following actions should be taken:

Regulators

  • Update and promote best practices for automated speed enforcement, addressing new technologies such as point-to-point enforcement.
  • Develop and implement a program to increase the adoption of speeding-related Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC) Guidelines data elements and improve consistency in law enforcement reporting of speeding-related crashes.
  • Establish a national education and enforcement campaign similar to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Click It or Ticket.
  • 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—and require that all newly manufactured heavy vehicles be equipped with such devices.
  • Encourage passenger-vehicle manufacturers to adopt intelligent speed adaptation systems.
  • Revise guidance on setting speed limits to lessen the reliance on 85th-percentile operating speeds.

States

  • Implement a comprehensive strategy to reduce speeding-related crashes, including authorizing the use of automated speed enforcement.
  • Develop and implement a program to increase the adoption of speeding-related MMUCC Guidelines data elements, and improve consistency in law enforcement reporting of speeding-related crashes.
  • Revise guidance on setting speed limits to lessen the reliance on 85th-percentile operating speeds.

Drivers

  • Follow posted speed limits; drive even slower in poor weather conditions

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