ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Although traffic declined significantly under coronavirus lockdowns, research from the Governors Highway Safety Administration showed that speeding and reckless driving increased.
Speeding accounts for over one-quarter of traffic fatalities in the U.S., claiming nearly 10,000 American lives every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a crash is speeding-related when police cite a driver for speeding or determine that driving too fast for conditions, racing, or going over the speed limit contributed to the crash.
NHTSA data says speed-related traffic fatalities have declined in recent years, but these rates differ at the state level. Researchers at CoPilot examined which states and counties historically suffer from the most speeding-related deaths. They used data from the NHTSA, the Census, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety to rank which states have the greatest proportion of speeding-related fatal crashes.
Here is a summary of the data for Albany County:
- Total traffic fatalities (2014-2018): 105
- Speeding-related traffic fatalities 2014-2018): 29, or 27.6%
- Speeding-related traffic fatality rate per 100k: 1.89
Here are the nationwide numbers:
- Total traffic fatalities (2014-2018): 48,622
- Speeding-related traffic fatalities 2014-2018): 180,067, or 27%
- Speeding-related traffic fatality rate per 100k: 2.97
Illinois, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington D.C., and New Hampshire are some of the states with the most speeding-related records. Here are the counties with the worst speeding problems:
Speeding-related fatalities per capita are closely connected to speed limits, which vary from state to state. States with higher posted speeds often experience more speed-related fatalities.
There’s also a strong correlation between speed-related deaths and alcohol. In the past five years, 47% of speed-related deaths involved drivers with positive blood alcohol content.
CoPilot says about 60% of speeding fatalities are not on major highways and freeways, and 38% from 2014 to 2018 happened on short-distance local streets and connectors. Accounting for traffic volume and distance traveled on each road, those primary streets have the worst track record, with 4.28 speed-related deaths per billion miles traveled. Freeways actually have the lowest rate of speed-related deaths, at 1.65 per billion miles traveled.
Speeding fatalities are also strongly correlated to a driver’s age and gender. The NHTSA says almost one-third of men aged 15 to 24 who died in a crash were speeding. Across all ages, women are less likely to die in a speed-related crash than men, though the probability among female drivers is highest for that same 15 to 24 demographic. Those over 35 are statistically far less likely to die on the road because of speeding.
Before the pandemic, a February 2020 GHSA report showed pedestrians accounting for 17% of all traffic-related fatalities, including those due to speeding. Increased pedestrian traffic during COVID-19—along with higher instances of speeding—can create a lethal traffic combination, and not just for drivers and passengers.