Speeding remains one of the riskiest driving behaviors on our nation’s roadways. That fact has prompted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to plan a new initiative to stop speeding and reduce traffic fatalities, reports Reuters.
The agency will be launching a new anti-speeding campaign in the next couple of weeks. Steven Cliff, NHTSA administrator, told Reuters he wants speeding to "be as undesirable and seen as negatively as other types of bad" driving habits.
In 2020, speeding claimed the lives of some 11,258 people — a staggering 17% increase over speeding-related traffic fatalities in 2019. Moreover, in 2021, overall traffic fatalities in the U.S. skyrocketed 10.5%. That’s the highest number of roadway fatalities in 16 years, according to NHTSA data.
Experts and safety advocates point to two key factors that appear to have increased the amount of speeding on today’s highways and byways — COVID-19 and states raising speed limits.
Several studies have shown that risky driving behaviors including distracted driving, impaired driving, and speeding took hold during the pandemic. Open roads and ample frustration is likely what prompted drivers to act recklessly while behind the wheel. Unfortunately, that behavior seems to have stuck.
Furthermore, speeding has been a persistent roadway killer for decades. A 2019 report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that 37,000 people died over the last 25 years because of states increasing their speed limits. Data indicates that when the speed limit is increased, drivers tend to drive even faster.
Moreover, changing speed limits does not change physics, notes the National Safety Council. The faster a person drives, the worse the crash outcome.