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Speeding: Motor Vehicle Injuries and Fatalities

Did you know that speeding has been a major factor in nearly one-third of all crash deaths in the U.S. every year from 2005 to 2014[1]?
 
Did you also know that speeding doesn’t necessarily mean driving at 75 mph or more? It can also mean driving 30 mph or less in a congested area. About 30% of fatal accidents in urban areas occur at speeds under 35 mph[2]. Traveling over the speed limit isn’t the only way we speed. Any time we don’t consider adverse weather, road conditions, or visibility or we otherwise travel too fast for conditions, we are guilty of speeding.
 
Speeding reduces your chance of surviving an accident. As speed increases, the kinetic energy of the vehicle and its occupants multiplies. When an accident happens, kinetic energy must be dissipated. The higher the speed, the harder the energy is to dissipate without injury.
 
Speeding reduces your chances of stopping in time. The greater your speed, the less time you have to react in an emergency situation. The higher your speed, the greater the distance traveled and the more time it takes to stop the vehicle.
 
If overall speeds are reduced by just 3 mph, the number of crashes with injuries could be reduced by about half[3]. For pedestrians, the average risk of death is 10% when struck by a vehicle traveling 24.1 mph, 25% at 32.5 mph, 50% at 40.6 mph, and 90% at 54.6 mph[4].
 
Did you know that on a 30-mile trip, driving 65 mph on a 75-mph road, will just add 3.7 more minutes to your trip? Consider the following practices to help prevent speeding:

  • Carefully plan your route to save more time rather than speeding. To help avoid congestion, check traffic apps before you leave.
  • While driving, periodically check the speedometer to keep your eye on your speed and avoid unintentional speeding.
  • Use cruise control selectively. Set it at a legal, safe speed and remember to take weather, visibility, and road conditions into account. Cruise control is not recommended on city streets, in heavy traffic, or on hilly, curvy, slippery, wet, snowy, or icy roads.
  • Leave five to 10 minutes early!

 
Remember, driving slower gives you more time to react to a driving hazard, take the necessary action, and do so in time to avoid an accident.
 
Slow down and stay alive!

[1] NTSB Safety Study. Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles NTSB/SS17/01.

[2] Fatality Facts 2018 Urban/Rural Comparison IIHA, HLDI.

[3] Kloden CN, McLean AL Glonek G [2002] Reanalysis of traveling speed and the risk of crash involvement in Adelaide South Australia. Road Accident Research Unit, the University of Adelaide.

[4] Teft BC [2013]. Impact speed and a pedestrian’s risk of severe injury or death. Accident Analysis & Prevention 50:871-878.

 

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