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Safety Board Calls for More Speed Cameras

July 26, 2017

VIDEO: Speeding Fuels Deadly Crashes

Pointing to speeding as a major factor in about one-third of road deaths, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is recommending expansion of the use of speed cameras and more stringent speed-limit enforcement by police.

The recommendations are included in a newly released preliminary report on the findings of an NTSB study focused on reducing speeding-related passenger vehicle crashes. According to the report, speeding continues to be commonplace on American roadways, even though it’s almost as risky as drunken driving. Compared to alcohol-impaired driving, speeding is considered more socially acceptable — despite its heavy toll in loss of life and serious injuries.

“You can’t tackle our rising epidemic of roadway deaths without tackling speeding,” said NTSB Acting Chairman Robert L. Sumwait. “And you can’t tackle speeding without the most current research. Speed kills. This study examines how it kills and what actions can be taken to save lives and prevent speeding-related crashes.”

The NTSB report recognizes automated speed enforcement as an effective countermeasure to reduce speeding-related crashes, fatalities and injuries. But only 14 states and the District of Columbia use these cameras for speed-limit enforcement.

From 2005 through 2014, speeding-related crashes involving passenger vehicles resulted in 112,580 fatalities, according to law enforcement data cited in the study. This figure represents 31% of all traffic fatalities during that period. In 2014, passenger vehicles accounted for 77% of speeding vehicles involved in fatal crashes, the report states.

The report acknowledges that the relationship between speed and crash involvement is complex and affected by a number of factors. But speed — and therefore speeding — “increases crash risk both in terms of the likelihood of being involved in a crash and in terms of the severity of injuries sustained by those involved in speeding-related crashes,” the NTSB noted in a released statement about the research.

The report also criticizes how some states have raised certain highway speed limits to bring them in line with the 85th percentile speed that’s observed in free-flowing traffic. There are more reliable methods for setting speed limits, the NTSB said, and they take into account such factors as crash history and the presence of vulnerable road users including pedestrians.

“Raising speed limits to match the 85th percentile speed can result in unintended consequences,” the report warns. “It may lead to higher operating speeds, and thus a higher 85th percentile speed. In general, there is not strong evidence that the 85th percentile speed within a given traffic flow equates to the speed with the lowest crash involvement rate for all road types.”

Additionally, the report underscores the need for law enforcement agencies to become more consistent in how they enforce speed limits and report speeding-related crashes. The lack of consistency has led to underreporting, which ultimately hinders local efforts to implement speed enforcement programs that are based on solid data, according to the NTSB.

Other recommendations include further assessment of point-to-point speed camera systems, which measure the average speed of a vehicle between two points. This safety technology can be used on roadway segments a number of miles long. Point-to-point speed enforcement has had success in the U.K. and Australia but isn’t currently used in the U.S. (To learn how Australia is incorporating point-to-point speed cameras, click here.)

In fact, a number of evolving safety technologies hold promise in the quest to prevent speeding, researchers concluded. These technologies include intelligent speed adaptation (ISA), which uses an onboard global positioning system or road sign-detecting camera to determine the speed limit. The system then either electronically limits the speed of the vehicle or warns the driver if the speed is exceeded.

“New car safety rating systems are one effective way to incentivize the manufacture and purchase of passenger vehicles with advanced safety systems such as ISA,” the report states.

Another key to the prevention of speeding is raising public awareness of the safety risks involved, the study asserts, and changing how the public views the crime. In response to the report, the National Safety Council issued a statement reinforcing this notion, urging federal, state and local leaders to embrace the report's proposed solutions.  

"If we work together, our cultural novocaine will start to wear off and we will see speeding for what it is — a deadly habit," said Deborah A.P. Hersman, president and CEO of the National Safety Council. "More often than not, driving faster will not hasten our arrival; instead it may accelerate a disaster."

Based on the findings of the study, the NTSB has forwarded a number of safety policy recommendations to the U.S. Transportation Department, including the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration. Recommendations have also gone to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Sheriff’s Association.

“This NTSB action should spur responses at the national, state and local levels to prioritize addressing excessive vehicle speeds along with other pressing traffic safety problems,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association. “National leaders must come together to develop best practices and programs to deter drivers from speeding and prevent the crashes, injuries and fatalities that too often result. We know from experience that sustained, high visibility enforcement efforts — including automated speed enforcement — coupled with strong public awareness campaigns can truly make a difference.”

Click here to download the preliminary report on the research. The full report, titled “Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles,” will be available on the NTSB website in a few weeks.

NTSB, which operates independently from the U.S. Transportation Department, is charged with investigating the probable causes of major transportation accidents and promoting transportation safety.

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  1. 1. Stephen [ July 29, 2017 @ 02:36PM ]

    First off the 85% speed has proven over decades to be the better choice. Since the end of the 55 in the early 90's the Death rates have DROPPED by HALF!

    1994 Death rate per 100 million miles 1.73. 2015 (WHICH WAS A BOOM YEAR after the 2008 thru 2014 recession) 1.13. THE 85% speed WORKS!

    NTSB is BEING VERY DISHONEST to the point of LYING with data”. (a review of 25 states in 2012. showed the number 1.6% of all crashes. "Out of 2.7 million traffic accidents recorded in twenty-five states over the course of a year, only 1.6 percent were caused by drivers who exceeded the posted speed limit.". The crash fact of the 25 states here:

    You see NTSB fails to mention that their "speeding related” counts illegal street racing, too fast below the limit and ANY crash above the limit regardless of cause. This is like claiming because more white cars are involved in crashes, driving a white car is more "dangerous". “Federal Stats Overstate Role Of Speeding In Fatal Crashes
    US Transportation Department figures overstate the role of speeding in fatal accidents by a factor of four. “

    Quote:"NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if any driver in the crash was charged with a speeding-related offense or if a police officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash," the report explains.”

    There are serious problems when NTSB is using pumped up data. The NTHSA “speed releated” category counts this as "speeding", if you are 5 over and a drunk crosses the center line, that is “speeding” releated even though it was the DRUNK who caused it, NOT the “speeding”.

    Counting crashes as “caused” by speeding when the cause was something else is dishonest.

    The speed scaemras do NOT stop dangeorus drivers, they mainly cite technical fouls. IN places of the world 1 mph or even 1 km/h are NOT unheard of.

    Safety is pulling someone over.

    Speed scameras are nothing more than SNAKE OIL masqurading as “safety”. (one even wonders if the authors of that “recommendation” work or plan on working for the camera industry like one IIHS “researcher” name Retting.

    Time to Ban the Cameras and have police look for reckless drivers, not mail bills week later on every petty “violation” they cite by scamera.
    Ban the Cams on Facebook
    Camerafraud on Facebook

  2. 2. Joe [ August 04, 2017 @ 10:32AM ]

    NTSB Wants to Turn Our Highways into a For-Profit Police State
    by Gary Biller, NMA President (for NMA blog)

    Why does the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) want to change its goal of providing legitimate highway safety research into an advocacy of ever-present, for-profit enforcement aimed primarily at safe drivers who are endangering no one?

    In a sweeping set of recommendations from its July 25, 2017 public meeting, the NTSB threw down a draconian gauntlet: More point-to-point tracking of vehicles via speed cameras, abolishment of the long-accepted engineering principle from the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices of setting speed limits based on normal traffic flow, and an increase in the hundreds of millions of dollars of federal (read: taxpayer-funded) grants that are divvied out among the states to run year-round ticketing campaigns.

    The NTSB wants to reduce traffic fatalities by slowing traffic down. Why the heavy-handed approach based on a false premise?

    The NTSB has perpetuated the myth that that nearly one-third of fatalities on the nation’s highways are speeding-related. “Speeding-related” is an interesting term. It is intended to signify that speed may have been a factor in an accident, although not necessarily the primary cause. Speeding-related as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also does not necessarily mean that the vehicles involved in a fatal crash were exceeding the posted speed limit. has done some excellent reporting on this topic by digging into the statistics of NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database while also reviewing state annual highway safety reports that are submitted to qualify for NHTSA grants. In a 2012 report, TheNewspaper found that “. . . of the 2.7 million traffic accidents recorded in twenty-five states over the course of a year, only 1.6 percent were caused by drivers who exceeded the posted speed limit.”

    Those results are remarkably similar to those found by a government study conducted in the United Kingdom some years ago. The UK Department for Transport found that just two percent of accidents among drivers over age 25 were caused by exceeding the speed limit.

    Most recently, TheNewspaper reviewed FARS crash data from 2015 – the latest available from NHTSA – and found that, of the 48,613 drivers involved in fatal accidents across the country that year, seven percent were reported to be exceeding the speed limit at the time of the crash. Seventy-seven percent were deemed not to be engaged in speeding-related actions.

    The NTSB is greatly exaggerating the speeding issue and its effect on road safety. The agency favors expensive and intrusive highway surveillance combined with lower posted speed limits that will have little effect on normal traffic speeds. Meanwhile the lower speed limits get, the more crashes that are classified as speeding-related. And where the limits are set so low as to be violated by nearly all drivers – an all-too-common occurrence – all crashes will end up being called speed-related. We have just described a self-perpetuating revenue-generating machine, one that will fine drivers for every misstep, real or imagined.

    The NMA’s solution for improved highway safety, as spelled out in this letter to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, is to take government funds that are currently sponsoring high-visibility enforcement campaigns and redirect them toward improving driver education programs, optimizing speed limits to smooth out traffic flow, and paying for much-needed state road construction projects.

    Do we want a government that is constantly monitoring and penalizing every perceived driver indiscretion primarily to generate enforcement profits? That is what we’ll have unless drivers en masse condemn proposals like that from the NTSB to their federal and state elected officials. Join the NMA in doing just that while also lobbying for safety based on sound engineering and improved driving conditions.


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