If you're reading this, you probably like cars. Chances are, you like fast cars, and you almost certainly like driving quickly.
That probably puts some of you among the one in five drivers who've admitted in a recently National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) survey that they try to get where they're going "as fast as I can". It also means around half of the population probably isn't that happy about you, with respondents saying that speeding is a real problem on America's roads.
Of course, you probably disagree with this opinion. All of us here enjoy driving quickly, and while we'd never condone excessive speed, there's certainly a line of thinking that suggests the heightened concentration required for driving fast can be safer than the semi-comatose state of some slower-moving drivers. Indeed, sixteen percent of those questioned felt that driving over the speed limit "is not dangerous for skilled drivers".
Skill is all relative though, and we do wonder how many of that sixteen percent perhaps has a higher opinion of their driving abilities than their own skills can back up. It's certainly difficult to ignore the NHTSA's own statistics, which suggest speed is a factor in nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year--around 10,000 lives lost. The statistics aren't broken down more than that, and it's worth noting that speed on its own is rarely the only factor in an accident. More often, excessive speed for the road conditions, excessive speed differential between vehicles and failure to account for the effects of traveling faster--such as leaving extra braking room--are typical factors.
Other statistics to emerge from the survey show that a quarter of drivers either drive at higher speeds without thinking or simply enjoy the sensations of speed, while younger, less experienced drivers in the 16-20 age range were more likely to speed than other age groups. One in ten drivers in that age range reported at least one speeding-related crash in the last five years, compared to 4 percent for the overall population.
Ultimately, 48 percent of respondents said they felt it important that something is done to reduce speeding on U.S. roads. The NHTSA backs up this sentiment, suggesting that speed should "never trump the need for safe and responsible driving". U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says that, rather than speeding, drivers should "obey speed limits, reduce speed in inclement weather conditions and allow plenty of time to arrive safely."
- Transport Accident