Speeding seems harmless when you’re flying down the interstate and almost necessary when you’re almost late for work. However, speeding, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), is the third most common contributor to auto accidents and takes approximately 13,000 American lives every year. These speed-related accidents cost $40 billion annually. That statistic means that for every minute that Americans save by speeding, U.S. society pays $76,000.
Police departments have dramatically reduced fatalities caused by driver impairment and by not wearing seatbelts. Speeding, unfortunately, remains an unsolved challenge. According to the National Safety Council, police, road engineers and private sector companies can work together to eliminate speeding. These four methods are commonly used in jurisdictions around the country.
Method One: Automated Speed Enforcement
The light has just turned yellow. You push your gas pedal so that you can speed through the intersection. As the light changes to red over your windshield, you notice a camera perched near the traffic signal. A few days later, you receive a letter with an unmistakable photo of your car. The letter details the speed at which you went through the intersection.
Cameras provide ongoing speeding enforcement while having minimal negative effects on the flow of traffic. Police can skip observation, chase and citation, which keeps them out of potentially unsafe situations. According to research from the National Campaign to Stop Red Light Running, cameras cut crashes at intersections by between 25 and 30 percent. As long as the public knows that police are using cameras and the police department mounts an effective media campaign, automated enforcement with cameras can be an excellent deterrent for speeders.
Method Two: High-Visibility Anti-Speeding Campaigns
Combining a blitz of speed limit enforcement with an aggressive media campaign against speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors can significantly reduce driver speeds in a community or even across an entire state. This strategy has been employed successfully in the past to curb impaired driving as well as refusal to wear seat-belts The NHTSA publishes information on preparing one of these anti-speeding campaigns in its “Guidelines for Developing a Municipal Speed Enforcement Program.”
Method Three: Strategic Road Engineering
When roads are planned, engineers should employ measures to control speeding by adding in physical deterrents. According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, some good examples include vertical deflections, such as speed bumps, speed tables and raised intersections; horizontal shifts such as neighborhood traffic circles; methods to narrow roadways like adding center islands; and closures like diagonal diverters that essentially force drivers to take other routes.
In addition to strategic road building, police can calm traffic by adding speed detectors on particularly troublesome roads. For instance, if police notice frequent speeding and speeding-related crashes on a certain highway, then they can erect speed signs letting drivers know how fast their vehicles are moving. These speed signs are also effective in construction zones.
Method Four: Driver Monitoring
Commercial vehicle operators or companies who provide their employees with vehicles can take measures to make sure their drivers avoid speeding. Fleet management devices like speed monitors, speed logs or speed regulators can discourage commercial and company car drivers from barreling down the highway.
Driving without going over the speed limit cuts auto insurance costs for everyone. When drivers avoid speeding, they also save lives. So make a special effort to slow down or to leave for work on time. The life that you save may be your own.
Despite these measures, reckless speeding can still occur. A wrongful death attorney can help if you or a loved one is the victim of a reckless driver.