Event Summary from the NTSB – July 25, 2017
[Comments from ADoNA are at the foot of the page]
Although speeding is one of the most common factors in motor vehicle crashes in the USA, it is an underappreciated problem, involved in about 10,000 highway fatalities each year according to the National Transportation Safety Board.
More than 112,500 people died in speeding-related US highway crashes from 2005-2014. This is roughly equal to the number who died in alcohol-involved crashes over the same period. However, speeding gets far less attention.
In a speeding-related crash, there is a greater chance of being injured and the injuries are likely to be more severe or fatal.
The public is less aware of the risks of speeding compared with other risky driving behaviors. There is also less social stigma surrounding speeding than, for example, drinking and driving.
“Substantial reductions in highway crashes cannot be achieved without a renewed emphasis on the impact of speeding,” said NTSB Director of Research and Engineering Jim Ritter. “Lowering speeding-related highway deaths requires more effective use of countermeasures to prevent these crashes.”
The NTSB publicly discussed a new safety study on passenger vehicle speeding on July 25, 2017. The study examines proven and emerging countermeasures that can reduce the impact of speeding, but that are currently underused or ineffectively used. It will focus not only on speed enforcement, but also on how speeding is defined and how speed limits are determined.
Additionally, the study will highlight the scope of speeding-related passenger vehicle crashes, illustrate the risks of speeding and address some common misconceptions about speeding.
Comments from Advanced Drivers of North America
An excellent synopsis from the NTSB’s Safety Study is here.
Among the Findings, number 4 reads: “The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices [MUTCD] guidance for setting speed limits in speed zones is based on the 85th percentile speed, but there is not strong evidence that, within a given traffic flow, the 85th percentile speed equates to the speed with the lowest crash involvement rate on all road types.”
ADoNA’s position on this is that using the 85th percentile has little validity given that in any society it cannot even remotely be presumed that enough drivers for this criterion are of sufficiently well informed, high standards that their chosen speed in any way represents maximum safety. From our work over many years, instructing in defensive driving and advanced driving in virtually all American states, it has become extremely clear that an incalculably high number of locations in the USA have speed limits which are too high for good safety.
Indeed, at ADoNA we are in agreement with all 20 of the findings.
One thing that we are sorry to see not mentioned in the document is the frequent use of speed and inappropriate driving, in television advertisements from automakers. The example such commercials set to easily-influenced drivers is far from helpful. A freedom of speech issue? Yes, undoubtedly. A behavioral factor in speed-related deaths? Just as undoubtedly “Yes!”