Speeding & Aggressive Driving
Speeding – defined as "exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions, or racing" – is a dangerous driving behavior. Despite progress in other areas, such as increased seat belt useage and fewer drunk driving deaths, speeding continues to be a major factor in about one-third of traffic fatalities.
Speeding is often one component of aggressive driving, which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines as "committing a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property." Some states have passed aggressive driving laws that delineate these actions, such as: speeding; red light running; failure to yield; following too closely; improper passing; etc.
Learn More About Speeding & Aggressive Driving
Survey of the States: Speeding and Aggressive Driving
States are combating speeding and aggressive driving in several ways, including:
- Increased data-driven enforcement, through programs such as Washington State's Target Zero Team project.
- Technological advances, such as automated enforcement.
- Public information and education programs that focus on the dangers of aggressive driving, provide tips for safe driving or publicize upcoming enforcement programs.
GHSA recommends that states address speeding through aggressive driving enforcement and through targeted enforcement in school and work zones, since both these approaches have a higher degree of public support.
In addition, GHSA encourages NHTSA to: sponsor a national high-visibility enforcement campaign on speeding and aggressive driving; promote best practices in automated enforcement strategies; and sponsor a national forum on speeding and aggressive driving to bring experts together to develop an action plan and share tools and best practices.
Excerpted from GHSA's Highway Safety Policies & Priorities [115 KB, 27 pgs.]
F. Speed, Speeding and Aggressive Driving
F.1 Speeding-Related Crashes
A significant percentage of all crashes are speeding-related. These crashes are a serious problem and have contributed to the slowdown in the reduction of motor vehicle fatalities. GHSA recommends that NHTSA should make speeding-related crashes a priority and conduct research on effective countermeasures, identify best practices and provide technical assistance to states that wish to address the issue. NHTSA should also examine a number of issues such as: the impact of speed fines and points, the effect of decriminalizing speed violations, the coordination of speed campaigns with those for safety belts and impaired driving and potential changes to vehicle standards to limit the speed of passenger vehicles. Further, NHTSA should approach speed in an integrated manner by working closely with FHWA on speeding-related engineering issues and with FMCSA on the problem of speeding commercial motor vehicles.
GHSA supports the authorization of a federal incentive grant program to help states combat the problem of speeding. Such a program should encourage state and local speed enforcement initiatives, the use of automated speed enforcement, and implementation of local speed education campaigns and speed management workshops.
F.2 Speed Limits
Speed limits should be part of a comprehensive speed management program including highway engineering, speed enforcement and public education. They should be established based on several factors including, but not limited to: highway design, highway operations, highway conditions, differences at state or municipal borders and traffic safety. Decisions regarding speed limits should consider the likely safety consequences (crashes, injuries, deaths and economic costs) of different speed limits. Speed limits should be perceived as reasonable by the public and be well publicized and vigorously enforced.
F.3 Speed Advertising
GHSA strongly encourages motor vehicle manufacturers and advertisers to restructure advertising messages to encourage safety instead of speed. GHSA offers to work with other organizations in the transportation and highway safety communities to develop plans and support for responsible corporate advertising.
F.4 Use of Speed Detection Devices
GHSA supports state and national efforts to prohibit the sale and/or use of speed detection devices (e.g. radar and laser detectors) by the public because such devices undermine law enforcement efforts to control motor vehicle speeds and enhance highway safety.
F.5 Aggressive Driving
GHSA recognizes that aggressive drivers who do not follow the rules of the road are a hazard to all motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians on the roadway. GHSA encourages additional research into the issue and the sponsorship of effective countermeasures to detect, apprehend and discourage the aggressive driver.