Today's News / Transportation Safety

U.S. drivers are opposed to speeding – although lots of us do it

Many feel that it's not dangerous for skilled drivers

December 16, 2013

trafficThe U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) today released a new National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior in which nearly half of drivers surveyed say speeding is a problem on our nation's roads, and one in five drivers surveyed admitted, "I try to get where I am going as fast as I can."

Speeding-related deaths nationwide account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking close to 10,000 lives.

Survey results show a broad range of perspectives among drivers. The majority of drivers, about four out of five, believed driving at or near the speed limit makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations and reduces the chances of a crash. 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.

"I enjoy the feeling"

However, despite acknowledging the safety benefits of speed limits and reasons drivers should follow them, more than a quarter of those surveyed admitted "speeding is something I do without thinking" and "I enjoy the feeling of driving fast." Further, sixteen percent felt that "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," said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. "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 least experienced speed the most

Of those surveyed, male drivers admitted to speeding more compared to females based on responses to behavior questions. Also, drivers with the least experience behind the wheel, 16-20 years old, admitted to speeding more frequently than any other age group. More than one in ten, 11 percent, of drivers age 16 to 20 reported at least one speeding-related crash in the past five years, compared to 4 percent for the population as a whole. The percentage of drivers in speeding-related crashes in this age group is greater than in any other age group, even though these young drivers may not have been driving for all of the past five years.

A focus on teens

To encourage safe driving practices among teens, NHTSA recently launched its "5 to Drive" campaign that challenges parents to discuss five critical driving practices with their teenage drivers that can have the greatest beneficial impacts in the event of a crash: No speeding, no cell phone use or texting while driving; no extra passengers; no alcohol, and; no driving or riding without a seat belt.

NHTSA works closely with state officials on all aspects of traffic safety including speed management. The agency provides resources and guidance for establishing speeding policies, enforcing laws and increasing public awareness of the risks of excessive speed.

NHTSA's National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior

Visit SaferCar.gov for more information on NHTSA's "5 to Drive" teen driver safety campaign.

Click here for information about teen driver safety from the Insurance Quotes Auto Safety Center.

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