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NHTSA: More Than a Quarter of Drivers Admit to Speeding

December 12, 2013

The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a new “National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior.” Nearly half of surveyed drivers said speeding is a problem on our nation's roads, and one in five drivers 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, says NHTSA.

"We all have places we need to go, but it's never the right decision to put ourselves, our families and others in harm's way to get there faster," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "This is another reminder, as the busy holiday season approaches, to obey speed limits, reduce speed in inclement weather conditions and allow plenty of time to arrive safely."

The latest survey provides national estimates of behavior and attitudes toward speeding in the United States. 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. And almost half of all drivers (48%) said that it was very important that something be done to reduce speeding on U.S. roads, says the survey.

Despite acknowledging the safety benefits of speed limits and reasons drivers should follow them, more than a quarter admitted "speeding is something I do without thinking" and "I enjoy the feeling of driving fast," according to the survey. Further, 16% of respondents 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."

Of those surveyed, male drivers admitted to speeding more compared to females based on responses to behavior questions. In addition, drivers with the least experience behind the wheel (16-20 years old) admitted to speeding more frequently than any other age group.

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.

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