Speeding means that the driver is going faster than the speed limit. It also includes driving too fast for road or weather conditions, even if you're not going over the speed limit.

In 2016, over 10,000 people died in speeding-related crashes in the United States – 27% of all traffic deaths. To put that in context, only slightly more – 28% – involved a driver with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.

While drunk driving has come to be socially unacceptable, this is not yet true of speeding. The AAA Foundation's 2017 Traffic Safety Culture Index found that drivers' attitudes about speeding are much different than what they actually do on the road. They believe speeding drivers are a threat to their safety, but they themselves do it.

Why is speeding so dangerous?

For an employee driver: As your speed increases, so do the chances you will be involved in a crash, and so do the chances you will be seriously injured or killed. Why? A driver needs at least 1 second to react. The faster you drive, the farther your car will continue to travel before it can stop. This means you're more likely to crash. And, the faster you drive, the greater the amount of mechanical (kinetic) energy that must be absorbed by the impact. This means you're more likely to be killed or seriously injured.

For a pedestrian: The higher the speed of the vehicle that hits you, the greater your chances of injury or death. A pedestrian hit at 16 mph has a 10% chance of severe injury or death. This increases to 50% at 31 mph and 90% at 46 mph.

How can employers manage the risks of speeding?

  • Require drivers to report speeding tickets and other traffic violations. Check their motor vehicle records regularly for this information.
  • Weigh speeding tickets heavily in criteria for maintaining eligibility to drive a company vehicle.
  • Consider setting fleet speed limits that are lower than posted speed limits. This might be done fleet-wide, or on regularly-used routes based on risk assessments or crash data.
  • Assess whether drivers can complete their assigned driving tasks or routes at safe speeds. Consider not just speed limits, but also whether weather or road construction might affect travel time.

Through training and education:

  • Driver training – whether online, classroom, or behind-the-wheel – can send clear messages about the dangers and consequences of speeding.

Through technology:

  • In-vehicle monitoring systems (IVMS) generally collect data on vehicle speed. Use IVMS data to coach drivers on the dangers of speeding, and discuss how work can be completed without speeding.
  • Intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) systems determine the speed limit by comparing a vehicle's GPS location against a database of posted speed limits and using onboard cameras to recognize speed limit signs. The system gives the driver visual or sound alerts when the speed limit is exceeded, but the driver is responsible for slowing the vehicle. ISA is available on some vehicles sold in the U.S. More advanced ISA systems in Europe that actually take actions to control the vehicle have been shown to be very effective.
  • "Speed governors" or "speed limiters," used primarily on large trucks, keep the vehicle from exceeding a set maximum speed.

Driving at high speeds reduces fuel efficiency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that for most vehicles, gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 50 mph. In general, each 5 mph you drive over 50 mph is like paying an additional 20 cents a gallon for gas.

 

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

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