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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a study that shows younger women are far more likely to die than men in an equivalent car crash.
For the first time in seven years, the number of fatalities on U.S. roadways increased 5.3 percent last year to 34,080 deaths, according to preliminary data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Despite all the new technologies going into vehicles to help make them safer, speeding-related fatalities have not declined in almost 30 years according to a report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA).
Speeding-related accidents make up about one-third of all traffic deaths each year, with over 10,000 fatalities reported in 2010 alone. This is despite a 57-percent increase in drivers wearing seatbelts (in fatal accidents) and a 24-percent decrease in alcohol-impared drivers involved in fatal crashes.
Very little has been done to improve state laws on speeding since 2005, according to the GHSA. Seven states have even increased their speed limits with some going as high as 85-mph. Only two of the 50 states surveyed have increased their fines for speeding while only three states have an excessive speed classification. In total, 11 states have implemented an aggressive driver law, but only one of those added it since 2005.
A 1995 repeal on the national speed limit has resulted in an overall increase of 3-percent in fatalities according to a 2009 study in American Journal of Public Health. The long-term effects of the 1995 appeal estimates that over 12,000 deaths can be attributed to an increase in speed limits on the roads.
For those who have been commuting daily since the mid-to-late ’90s there has been a decrease in law enforcement on freeways, while the vast majority of drivers employ a “keep up with traffic” rate of speed.
The GHSA report has issued recommendations to the states and NHTSA to help address the speeding problem:
- Look into speed concerns through aggressive driving enforcement, since the public believes it’s a more serious threat to safety.
- Target speed enforcement in school and work zones, as this has higher public support and viewed as less controversial.
- Sponsor a national high-visibility enforcement campaign and support public awareness efforts to address speeding and aggressive driving.
- Promote best practices in automated enforcement strategies. Only 14 states allow automated speed enforcement and only two allow it everywhere in the state.
- Sponsor a National Forum on Speeding and Aggressive Driving to bring experts together to develop a plan and share information.
[Source: Consumer Reports]