The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

NHTSA: Young, Affluent Drivers More Likely to Speed

December 13, 2013

Nearly half of drivers surveyed viewed speeding as a problem on U.S. roads. Photo: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Nearly half of drivers surveyed viewed speeding as a problem on U.S. roads. Photo: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

New survey results released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggest that age and income can be factors in a driver’s proclivity to exceed the speed limit.

“The 2011 National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior,” released Dec. 11 of this year, found that drivers classified as speeders tended to be younger than non-speeders. One-half of the drivers 16 to 20 years old were classified as speeders, compared to 15 percent of drivers 65 or older. Speeders were also more likely to have higher household incomes. Forty-two percent of drivers with annual household incomes exceeding $100,000 were classified as speeders, while only 25 percent of drivers with annual household incomes of $30,000 or less were speeders.

According to researchers, cluster analysis identified three distinct groups of drivers with similar behavioral tendencies. Thirty percent were non-speeders, 40 percent were sometime speeders, and 30 percent were speeders.

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

Overall, nearly half of drivers surveyed viewed speeding as a problem on U.S. roads. Nearly half also agreed with the statement: “I worry a lot about having a crash.”

But three in five (60 percent) agreed that they often get impatient with slower drivers. One in five drivers (20 percent) agreed with the statement: “I try to get where I am going as fast as I can.”

A total of 82 percent agreed with the statement: “Driving at or near the speed limit makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations.” But 42 percent believed that driving at or near the speed limit makes it difficult to keep up with traffic, and 17 percent thought that driving at or near the speed limit makes them feel annoyed.

Twenty-seven percent agreed with the statement “Speeding is something I do without thinking.” Also, 27 percent agreed with the statement: “I enjoy the feeling of driving fast.”

Sixteen percent felt that "driving over the speed limit is not dangerous for skilled drivers." Seventeen percent agreed with the statement: “If it is your time to die, you’ll die, so it doesn’t matter whether you speed.” Just 9 percent agreed with the statement: “I consider myself a risk taker while driving.”

Nearly half of all respondents (48 percent) agreed that the speed limit should be enforced all the time. Thirty percent indicated it should be enforced often, while 18 percent said it should be enforced sometimes.

Eighty percent believed that greater use of speed cameras in dangerous or high-crash locations was a good idea, and 66 percent favored more frequent ticketing for speeding.  Among drivers classified as speeders, however, just over half (54 percent) thought that increased ticketing for speeding was a good idea. Among drivers classified as sometime speeders and non-speeders, 65 percent and 78 percent, respectively, supported more ticketing.

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