Terrifying Video Drives Home the Dangers of Speeding: Are You at Risk?
A terrifying video is going viral of a driver livestreaming himself going 100 mph in a 55-mph zone on a Connecticut freeway. It ends about as well as can be expected when the driver crashes into a guardrail on an off ramp. Notwithstanding the alarming footage, the driver amazing was not hurt because he was wearing his seatbelt, and fortunately, no innocent bystanders were injured.
But how big of a problem is speeding?
National Crash Statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) reports that in 2018, speeding killed 9,378 people on U.S. roadways. According to NHTSA, for more than two decades, speeding has been involved in approximately one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities. In 2017, it was a contributing factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities.
Here in the Keystone State, PennDOT in its “2018 Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics Report” found that among crashes involving some form of poor/degraded driver performance, speeding surpassed all other contributing factors in accounting for the most crashes as well as the most fatal crashes ― a whopping 32,710 crashes, 397 of which were fatal.
By way of comparison, distracted driving ranked as the second biggest contributor to crashes involving poor/degraded driver performance. It caused 14,292 crashes, 63 of which were fatal. Drinking drivers accounted for 8,519 crashes, 150 of which were fatal.
Why Do Drivers Speed?
According to NHTSA, there are several reasons why drivers put the pedal to the metal:
- Traffic congestion is a contributing factor in aggressive driving behaviors, including speeding. Drivers faced with traffic congestion may also respond by changing lanes frequently or becoming angry at anyone who they believe impedes their progress.
- Running Late. Running late for work, school, an appointment, or otherwise often precipitates speeding.
- Shielded from the world by their motor vehicle, some people feeling less constrained in their behavior when they cannot be seen by others and/or when it is unlikely that they will ever again see those who witness their behavior.
- Disregard for Others and for the Law. Some drivers frequently engage in aggressive driving, and for a small proportion of motorists it is their usual driving behavior.
Who Is Most Likely to Speed?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that each year from 1982 to 2018, speeding was identified as a contributing factor for a greater proportion of male drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes than for female drivers killed in crashes. Most recently, in 2018, 3,307 male drivers were killed while speeding, compared with 882 female drivers.
Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed, and they do not consider driving 5 to 10 mph above the speed limit to be dangerous, according to Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
What Should I Do If a Driver Is Speeding?
Since speeding poses a risk to all users of the road ― including pedestrians and bicyclists ― here are some tips from NHTSA regarding what you can do to stay safe when you encounter a speeding driver:
- If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let them.
- Give speeding drivers plenty of space. Speeding drivers may lose control of their vehicle more easily.
- Adjust your driving accordingly. Speeding is tied to aggressive driving. If a speeding driver is tailgating you or trying to engage you in risky driving, use judgment to safely steer your vehicle out of the way.
- Call the police if you believe a driver is following you or harassing you.
The driver in the terrifying video is facing several charges, and hopefully will never again put innocent motorists at risk. If you have been injured in an automobile accident ― caused by a speeding driver or otherwise ― you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit. We recommend that you consult with an attorney immediately to ensure that your legal rights are protected.