Driving at excessive speeds has been a major part of traffic fatalities in this country. Despite serious car accidents, however, speeding has been publicly-acceptable and prevention efforts have been limited. The Governor's Highway Safety Association made these findings in a recently-released report.
Speeding was involved in 9,717 accident deaths in the United States in 2017. These constituted 26 percent of all traffic deaths in this country that year. In Kentucky, 18 percent of all accident deaths involved speeding in 2017.
Speeding poses special risks for road users who have little protection such as pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and road construction workers. Pedestrians constituted 5,977 accident fatalities and there were 783 bicyclist deaths in 2017. The largest proportion of pedestrian deaths occurred near divided highways with speeds of at least 45 mph.
Speeding impact is also exacerbated by other reckless behavior such as alcohol and marijuana-impaired driving and aggressive driving. Thirty-seven percent of all speeding drivers involved in a deadly auto accident in 2016, for example, had a BAC that exceeded the legal limit.
Surveys of American drivers show that they continue to speed even though they acknowledge that it is risky. Motorists are not significantly deterred by getting a traffic citation, causing an accident or violating socially-accepted behavior.
Roadways also play a role. Exceeding the posted speed limit, especially in areas with curved roadways, caused more traffic deaths than driving too fast for inclement conditions such as rain, snow or ice.
The GHSA also survey states late last summer on the factors playing a role in the increased number of speeding death. States attributed this to many factors such as higher speed limits, limited enforcement resources, reduced federal funds for speed enforcement, greater distances between work and recreational destinations, distracted driving, legalization of recreational marijuana and population growth.
The GHSA also made several recommendations. These include increased local enforcement, strategic deployment of automated speed enforcement, integrated speed management programs, training law enforcement, setting appropriate speed limits and better highway infrastructure. It also said that the federal government should prioritize this issue and create new programs.
An attorney is prepared to assist a car accident victim, or their family seek compensation. Lawyers can help obtain evidence of reckless driving and pursue cases in court.