Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System reveals that speeding is the most common cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents in Georgia and around the country. The number of deadly crashes involving excess speed has risen sharply in recent years. In 2019, 8,650 road users lost their lives in speed-related traffic accidents. In 2021, the speed-related death toll was 11,057. Speeding was a factor in 29% of all accident fatalities in 2021 and claimed the lives of 33 road users every day.
The NHTSA considers motor vehicle accidents to be speed-related when one of the drivers involved was cited for speeding, exceeding the posted speed limit, racing, or traveling too fast for prevailing road conditions. According to the FARS data speeding is a particularly serious problem in the District of Columbia. Between 2012 and 2021, almost half of the deadly traffic accidents in the nation’s capital involved a driver who was speeding. In Georgia, 17.6% of the fatal accidents that took pace in 2020 were speed-related.
Closer scrutiny of the NHTSA data reveals that some road users are far more likely to lose their lives in speed-related accidents. Motorcycle riders are more likely to be killed in traffic accidents involving excess speed than passenger vehicle drivers, and men crash while speeding more often than women. The data also shows that young male drivers are the demographic group that is most likely to be killed in speed-related accidents. In 2021, more than 30% of the male drivers under the age of 25 who were involved in fatal accidents were speeding when they crashed. Among female drivers under the age of 25, that figure was 19%.
More rigorous policing
Many experts believe that the worrying rise in speed-related traffic deaths is largely due to reckless driving habits that motorists developed when travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders emptied the nation’s roads starting in 2020. If these experts are correct, more rigorous policing and harsher penalties for dangerous driving could help to solve the problem. When the consequences of reckless behavior are severe and the chances of being pulled over are high, drivers tend to behave more responsibly.