11 Sep Slow Down – It’ll Save Your Life
Speeding can be as dangerous as drunk driving, yet it’s considered more socially acceptable. Drivers who speed put everyone on the road at greater risk of injury and even death.
Speeding is one of the most common driving behaviors on the road. Despite the risk of traffic citations and creating dangerous road conditions many drivers treat speed limits more as suggestions than traffic laws that must be obeyed.
The Dangers of Speeding
In a 2016 survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation for Traffic Safety, 48% of respondents admitted to exceeding the speed limit by 15 mph on a freeway at least once in the past month; 15% of respondents admitted to speeding regularly. In residential neighborhoods, 45% of drivers said they drove 10 mph above the speed limit at least once in the past month, while 11% said they did so regularly.
Despite how common driving over the speed limit is and the cavalier attitude many have about it, it is among the most dangerous driving habits. According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), speeding is seen as socially acceptable, but carried similar risks to drunk driving.
According to a report by the NTSB, speeding was found to be a major contributing factor in one-third of all road fatalities. Data collected from 2005 to 2014 found that 112,580 automotive fatalities in the United States could be linked to speeding. Because numerous factors can be attributed to automotive accidents, speeding alone is seldom the single cause of any road fatality.
But research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the risk of serious injury and death in a car crash is directly linked to higher speeds. As traveling speed increases, so does the potential for serious injury and fatalities, which is why it’s imperative for drivers to follow legal speed limits.
In a recent study about the effects of driving above the speed limit, the NTSB recommended that police curb speeding by more strictly enforcing traffic laws and setting up more speed cameras to catch drivers in the act. The NTSB report concluded that law enforcement agencies needed to practice greater diligence in reporting speeding-related crashes, and that underreporting led to inconsistent data that made it more difficult to adequately implement speed enforcement programs.
Managing Speed Limits
Speed limits exist to notify drivers of the maximum allowable speed in any given area. Exceeding the limit is against the law and could result in a citation and fine. However, some states have raised speed limits on their highways to match the state of free flowing traffic. For example, in 2013, the state of Utah raised its highway speed limit from 75 mph to 80 mph.
But updating laws to fit the habits of modern drivers isn’t the answer. The results of a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that spanned 2010 to 2013 found that states that raised their highway speed limits to 80 mph had drivers traveling at an average 3 mph over the limit. People tended to drive faster than the speed limit, regardless of how high or low it was set.
According to Michigan NETS, the risk of death is doubled for every 10 mph traveled over 50 mph, and if you drive 25 miles at 65 mph instead of 55 mph you will only save 4 minutes and 20 seconds.
A 2011 study by the NHTSA found that people drove the speed that they felt was safe based on the road they were on. Increasing speed limits could make drivers think that they are safer driving at even higher speeds, when in reality they are just increasing the risk of injury and death in the event of a crash.
Driving for Work and Speeding
Obeying the speed limit not only makes you a safer driver, but helps to cut down on vehicle wear and tear and save fuel. Slowing down can not only help you avoid a crash, but helps your vehicle run more efficiently.
If you’re driving a company vehicle, there is a growing likelihood that your behavior is being monitored by a telematics device. Depending on your fleet’s safety policies, driving even a mile or two over the speed limit could cause an alert and possible consequences — such as remedial driving training.
Speeding is also seen by many fleets and fleet management companies as an indication of other risky driving behaviors.
Speeding may be ubiquitous, but it’s also extremely dangerous. Drivers who break speed limits hoping to shave a few minutes from their commutes or between appointments are putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. Slowing down and observing speed limits and traffic laws helps keep people safe and saves lives.