Study: Speeding Isn’t Linked to Posted Speed Limits, but Is to Gender and Age

Every quarter of an hour or so, an American dies in a car accident. One of 3 fatal collisions is caused by speeding, so having a better appreciation of the way in which this negative driving behavior is influenced by or links to other factors is an important step towards more awareness on the road.
Study shows men are worst speedsters than women, more likely to die in speed-related crashes 6 photos
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A recent study by shows that, while speeding bears no relation to posted speed limits, either in rural or in urban areas, it is heavily influenced by gender and age, time of the day, and type of the road. The research analyzed 5 years’ worth of Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data from NHTSA in the U.S.

More than 37,000 fatal collisions occur every year, and 1 in 3 of them involves a driver traveling above the legal speed limit. With all that, the study reveals that posted speed limits are often arbitrary; moreover, they do not influence speeding. In fact, in the 5 years included in the study, most instances of speeding occurred in areas where the speed limit was between 20 and 35 mph, as compared to any other zones. In 2017, the highest number of fatal crashes took place on roads with 55 mph speed limits, which brings researchers to the conclusion that most fatal crashes take place on roads with speed limits of 55 mph or below.

They also note that the highest number of fatal collisions occurs on rural roads, as compared to urban roads or the highway. That’s because traffic is lighter in rural areas, but also because drivers aren’t familiar with the area, or the road isn’t properly illuminated or signaled.

The most common times of day for speed-related fatal accidents is between 9 and 11 o’clock in the evening, and 12 and 2 o’clock in the morning. Most fatal accidents caused by speed happen over the weekend, starting Friday and peaking on Sunday. Heavy traffic acts as a deterrent against speeding.

Men are worst speedsters than women, despite the latter’s “reputation” that they’re bad drivers. Men in their 30s have the highest incidence of speeding-related fatal crashes and, overall, men have a 77% higher risk of dying in a crash caused by speed. They are also 5 times more likely to be involved in such an accident than women.

The study also shows that enforcing stricter regulations against speeding drivers shows little impact in curbing this type of behavior. The worst states for speeding are South Carolina, where legislation against speeding is lax, and New Mexico, where it’s extremely strict. Wyoming is next, followed by Missouri and Montana. At the opposite pole are New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts.

The conclusion can only be one: speeding kills. So drive responsibly.

“The moment you sit down behind the wheel of a car, you instantly become responsible for not only your own life, but the lives of other drivers around you,” the study says in closing. “For these reasons, obeying the rules of the road won’t just help you avoid getting a ticket – they could help save your life. Every year, thousands of fatal accidents are attributed to speeding drivers, particularly teenage boys and men. Rural areas are sometimes more likely to experience these deadly collisions, and speeding-related crashes typically happen at night or in the very early morning, outside the context of rush hour.”
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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