People understand the need for posted speed limits and want increased safety on the roads, just as long as it doesn’t cause them to slow down. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found in its recently released National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior that drivers have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to speeding and other on-road behaviors. “We all have places we need to go, but it's never the right decision to put ourselves, our families and others in harm's way to get there faster,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said.
“This is another reminder, as the busy holiday season approaches, to obey speed limits, reduce speed in inclement weather conditions and allow plenty of time to arrive safely.” The survey provides nationwide estimations of conduct and attitudes to speeding in the U.S. The results show a wide range of perspectives among drivers. And about four out of five drivers said they believe driving at or near the speed limit makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations and helps reduce the likelihood of a crash. An overwhelming majority or survey respondents, 91 percent, agreed with the statement that "everyone should obey the speed limits because it's the law." And 48 percent of drivers said that it was very important that something should be done in order to reduce speeding on roads in the U.S.
Yet despite the near consensus on obeying speed limits, one in five drivers admitted “I try to get where I am going as fast as I can,” and more than 25 percent of drivers said “speeding is something I do without thinking” and “I enjoy the feeling of driving fast.” In addition, 16 percent justified speeding because "driving over the speed limit is not dangerous for skilled drivers." “The need for speed should never trump the need for safe and responsible driving,” NHTSA Administrator David Strickland said.
“Motorists who drive at excessive speeds put themselves and others at an increased risk of being involved in a crash and possibly of being injured or killed.” The NHTSA reports that speeding-related deaths nationwide account for nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives.
The survey found that younger male drivers are the most likely to speed. In total, male drivers admitted to speeding more than female drivers, while younger drivers (ages 16-20) confessed to speeding more frequently than any other age group. In total, 11 percent of drivers under the age of 20 were reported to have been in at least one speeding-related crash during the past five years compared to just 4 percent for the overall population.
Jon Weeden, a business development manager at Teletrac, specializes in fleet safety and driver behavior.