NHTSA Launches Anti-Speeding Campaign As Road Deaths Increase

Drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 are most likely to be involved in speeding accidents, officials warn.

As part of a nationwide effort to reduce the number of speed-related car accidents, federal highway safety officials have launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign designed to educate drivers of the deadly consequences of speeding.

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched its Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign this month, which will run nationwide over the coming weeks, indicating that if drivers slow down and follow posted speed limits it may prevent over 10,000 fatal car accidents each year.

Approximately $8 million of funding will be applied to the educational campaign, which began on July 20 and will run through August 14, including national media advertisements in both English and Spanish, running on television, radio and digital platforms.

Speeding Accidents Increasing

According to the agency, the campaign will target drivers between the ages of 18 and 44 year, who data show are the most likely to be involved in fatal speeding-related car accidents.

In 2020, the U.S. saw 38,824 traffic related fatalities, which was a 17% increase in speeding-related deaths compared to 2019. Of the fatal crashes in 2020, NHTSA reports 11,258 people died in speeding-related crashes, accounting for 29% of all fatal crash events.

Overall, local roads witnessed the most speeding, with 87% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurring on non-interstate roads, while 37% of roadway fatalities occurred in work zones.

Other contributing factors to the speeding related deaths included weather conditions and impaired driving. Officials report 37% of the drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.8 or higher.

“Much like impaired driving, speeding can steal the lives of everyone using our roads: drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Administrator. “We cannot accept the status quo. Speed-related deaths aren’t inevitable. They’re preventable, and everyone has a role in addressing this crisis on our nation’s roadways.”

In addition to the national advertisements, the NHTSA has developed a publicly available toolkit of resources that include a Playbook Guide and a media work plan.

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Speeding has become a major concern for highway safety regulators, causing thousands of deaths and serious injuries to pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicle occupants annually. Moreover, car accidents have become the leading cause of death for teens between the age of 15 and 18 years in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease or violence.

Last year, the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) released a report highlighting the significant role speeding plays in teen driver accidents and deaths; providing a series of recommendations for parents about how to mitigate risky driving behaviors among teens.

According to the GHSA report, 15,510 teenage drivers between the ages 16 to 19 were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes from 2015 to 2019, with about one-third (5,202) of those fatal incidents caused by speeding. The data indicates teenagers accounted for 43% of all driver and passenger deaths related to speeding, were also found to have the highest percentage of fatal motor vehicle crashes in which a roadway departure (71%) or rollover (41%) occurred.

The NHTSA claims approximately 99,000 teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 years are injured every year in car crashes, while more than 2,000 young drivers are killed annually.


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