The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a survey entitled “National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior.” A copy of the PDF document can be downloaded from the NHTSA website by clicking here. This survey offers a sense of the public’s attitude towards speeding across the nation. Speeding is defined as going over the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions and it is a common factor in traffic crashes. Maine, along with other New England states, was one of the states with the lowest number of “non-speeders.”
To compile the data, NHTSA held 6144 phone interviews among drivers 16 and up. 1137 interviews were conducted with people that use mostly their cell phone, whereas 4507 interviews were held on landlines. There was a slightly larger percentage of interviews conducted with drivers ages 16-34 years old because this group was overrepresented in crashes.
The survey showed that drivers have a wide range of perspectives. The report is divided between a discussion of normative attitudes (what people think should be done) and personal attitudes (what they actually do in their real lives).
Normative attitudes were in line with what the law requires. About 4 out of 5 drivers believed that driving near the speed limit made it easier to avoid dangerous situations and reduced the likelihood of a crash. About 50% of drivers that were surveyed believed that speeding was a problem. An overwhelming majority, 91 percent, agreed with the statement that “everyone should obey the speed limits because it’s the law.”
Almost half of all drivers, 48 percent, said that it was very important that something be done to reduce speeding on U.S. roads. 16% believed that driving over the speed limit isn’t dangerous if you are skilled. But 79% of survey respondents understood that driving around the speed limit helped to avoid a crash.
Personal attitudes were a different story. What a significant percentage of people do, in spite of knowing what they should actually be doing, varied both from the law and what is safest in terms of avoiding injury. 1/5th admitted that they sped. Males more often made this admission than females. Many admitted they enjoy driving fast and that they speed without thinking about it. Many drivers (35%) stated that they were speeders because they were running late.
All speeders tended to pass other cars, and 57% kept up with faster traffic. This was in contrast to 43% of non-speeders who stated that other cars tended to pass them and that they tended to stay with slower traffic.
The age group with the least experience — those 16-20 years in age — crash as a result of speeding the most. The NHTSA has targeted this group with a “5 to Drive” campaign that challenges parents to discuss 5 critical driving practices with teen drivers that can help prevent crashes. These are: not speeding, not using a cell phone or texting while driving, not carrying extra passengers, not drinking and driving, and not riding without a seatbelt.
A casual approach to speeding — that is, speeding in spite of the knowledge that it is a problem — is dangerous. One-third of traffic fatalities (about 10,000 per year) are the result of speeding. One in ten drivers in the survey stated that they had been in a speeding-related crash. From 2002-2011, speeding contributed to about one-third of all crashes ending in death (or about 123,804 deaths).
If you or a loved one is hurt by a driver’s negligence or recklessness, you may need the help of an experienced personal injury attorney to aid in recovering the compensation you deserve. At Briggs & Wholey, our knowledgeable attorneys are available to answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced advocate, please contact Briggs & Wholey, LLC at (888) 596-1099 or through our website today.
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