The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently launched a three-week “Speeding Wrecks Lives” speeding prevention campaign that runs from July 10 through July 31; a response to speeding fatalities reaching a 14-year high in 2021 and now comprising almost one-third of all traffic fatalities.
[Above image by NHTSA]
NHTSA said its anti-speeding campaign is supported by a $9.6 million national media buy featuring English and Spanish-language ads running on television, radio and digital platforms. The ads target drivers ages 18 to 44, who data show are most likely to be involved in speeding-related fatal crashes.
“Speeding accounts for nearly one-third of all fatalities on our roads and puts everyone at risk, including people in other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and people with disabilities,” said Ann Carlson, NHTSA’s acting administrator, in a statement.
“NHTSA reminds everyone to slow down and arrive safely – it’s better to arrive a few minutes late than not at all,” she added.
The agency recently released new data on speeding, showing that speeding-related fatalities increased 8 percent from 2020 to 2021, with 12,330 people killed in 2021 speeding-related crashes. That represents 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2021, with the estimated number of people injured in speeding-related crashes also increasing by 7 percent.
Many drivers in speeding-related crashes also engaged in other risky driving behaviors, the agency noted. Drivers in fatal crashes who were speeding were also impaired by alcohol more frequently than drivers who were not speeding. Additionally, more than half of speeding passenger vehicle drivers were not wearing a seat belt, as compared to 23 percent of non-speeding passenger vehicle drivers.
NHTSA also released a study of efforts used by law enforcement officers to reduce speeding, which found that the number of speeders on the road was a statistically significant predictor of speeding-related crashes, and the number of non-speeders was not, indicating that the number of vehicles on the road can increase without leading to more crashes if the additional vehicles are driving at or below the speed limit.
The study also found that so-called “decoy” or unoccupied law enforcement vehicles, issuing citations, and digital speed signs can continue to reduce speeding at deployment locations, even after they are no longer at those locations.
NHTSA is also working closely with many state agencies – including state departments of transportation – to address their individual speed problems including setting speeds at safe limits and engaging with communities to tailor public education and enforcement efforts.
Many state DOTs are also conducting anti-speeding campaigns to educate the public and enforce safe speeds to drive down speed-related crashes.
For example, the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol launched an anti-speed effort in January to raise awareness regarding speeding risks while reminding motorists in El Paso County to obey speed limits.