NHTSA Study Shows Ambivalence Toward Speeding



Is it possible to believe that "slow and steady wins the race" while also feeling the need for speed? Evidently it is, according to a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showing motorists' paradoxical positions on speeding.

The just-released "National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior" provides estimates regarding how drivers feel about speeding versus their actions. Most (91 percent) agreed with the statement that "everyone should obey the speed limits because it's the law," while nearly half said it is very important that something be done to reduce speeding on U.S. roadways. About 4 out of 5 said driving at or near the speed limit makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations and reduces the chances of a crash.

"However, despite acknowledging the safety benefits of speed limits and reasons drivers should follow them, more than a quarter of those surveyed admitted 'speeding is something I do without thinking,' and 'I enjoy the feeling of driving fast,' " NHTSA reported in a statement. "Further, 16 percent felt that 'driving over the speed limit is not dangerous for skilled drivers.' "

Younger male drivers are the most likely to speed, according to the study. Male drivers admitted to speeding more than female drivers, while those with the least experience (ages 16-20) copped to speeding more frequently than any other age group — with 11 percent reporting having been in at least one speeding-related crash during the past five years compared to 4 percent for the overall population.

NHTSA notes that speeding deaths nationwide account for nearly a third of all traffic fatalities each year, taking nearly 10,000 lives.

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News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers.  Email Matt

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