Understanding the Motivations Behind Speeding

We’ve all been guilty of putting the pedal to the metal to get to our destinations. Maybe we overslept and have to get to work, or maybe we are just too distracted to pay attention to our speed. Whatever the reason, driving above the speed limit—or driving too fast for road or weather conditions—is a dangerous habit and one that contributes to a large number of fatal accidents every year. We take a look at what motivates people to speed and how addressing the problem could save lives.

The Danger of Speeding

When we talk about speeding, there are two different scenarios. The obvious one is when the speed limit sign says 35, but we're cruising along at 50. The other is when the speed limit on the interstate is 75, but traffic is heavy or it's pouring rain. In these conditions, it's not safe to drive 75 so, even though that's the speed limit, safety dictates that you should be driving at a slower speed. In either scenario, excessive speeds can lead to a deadly traffic accident.

Speeding is also related to other dangerous driving behaviors such as impaired driving and distracted driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were nearly 10,000 speeding-related fatalities on our roads in 2014. Speeding was a contributing factor in 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014.

Some other key findings include:

  • The drivers most often found to have been speeding when involved in a fatal accident are male, aged 15-24, at 38 percent.
  • Approximately 40 percent of all speeding drivers involved in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher.
  • Of all the motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes, 33 percent were speeding, a higher percentage than drivers of any other type of vehicle.
  • Only 13 percent of speed-related fatalities occurred on interstate highways.

These findings tell us a great deal about the people who typically speed, but do not explain the reasons they speed.

Why Do People Speed

NHTSA recently concluded a study of the motivations behind speeding. The organization believes that in order to reduce incidents of speeding, there must first be an understanding as to what motivates people to speed. The study examined a variety of factors, including demographics and speed-limit enforcement and found that there were several key commonalities among speeders.

Why Do People Speed?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that many people speed for one of the following reasons:

  • Situational factors. Trips with certain qualities encourage people to speed. Being in a hurry was a major contributor, but so were the length of the trip and the driving environment. For example, many people reported speeding only when on a long trip with very few other cars around them. Others admitted to speeding when they were running late.
  • Social pressure. Many drivers reported feeling pressure to keep up with the flow of traffic. If surrounding cars are speeding, people feel obligated to drive the same speed so that they do not hinder traffic. Also, they feel the risk of a traffic ticket is lower if everyone is speeding.
  • Inattention. Drivers often exceed the speed limit simply because they're not paying attention to their driving speed. Factors such as traffic flow, driving a powerful vehicle, and playing music were cited as contributors to speeding. Some motorists also blamed their speeding on being distracted by passengers.
  • It feels good. Some drivers report they speed for the rush. They say driving fast is fun, particularly if they drive a sports car. This type of thrill-seeking driver is also more likely to report that they feel aggressive behind the wheel.

Have You Been Injured In A Kansas City Area Car Accident?

If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Kansas City office directly at 816-471-5111 to schedule your free consultation.

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