UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Driving without car insurance is a bad idea – but speeding while driving is an even worse idea. Insurance doesn’t protect you from everything, and it will absolutely not save your life if you’re injured while speeding.
We hear a lot about deaths due to drunk driving. However, speeding kills as many American drivers per year as drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recently released a report explaining that 5,933 drivers died in speeding-related accidents across the United States in 2014. Those 5,933 drivers killed an additional 1,835 passengers, 1,136 occupants of other vehicles, 314 pedestrians, and 46 bicyclists.
Meanwhile, a total of 112,580 people died in speeding-related crashes between 2005 and 2014. Interestingly, during this same time period, an almost identical number of people were killed in drunk driving-related accidents. Between 2005 and 2014, a total of 112,948 people were killed by drunk drivers. In other words, in a decade-long stretch, there were a nearly identical number of people killed in accidents related to speed and alcohol.
Speeding-related fatalities generally declined during this period (as a percentage of total accidents). However, in 2015 and 2016, the NHTSA has found that speeding-related fatalities have started to edge higher. In the last few years, the percentage of accidents involving speed has increased.
It’s no secret that young male drivers pay higher car insurance prices than young female drivers. The reason is simple: males are significantly more likely to be involved in a speeding-related collision than females. In fact, the death rate for males in motor vehicle accidents is approximately 22 per 100,000 people, while for females, the number is just 9.4 per 100,000 people.
Some states have more speeding-related accidents than others. Texas, California, and North Carolina have more speeding-related fatalities than any other state in the United States, for example. Per capita, the worst states for speeding-related accidents by percentage of total accidents include New Hampshire (49% of all highway fatalities involved speed), Pennsylvania (45%), New Mexico (44%), Rhode Island (44%), Hawaii (43%), and Montana (41%).
Other states have relatively few speed-related collisions as a percentage of total accidents. Florida (11%), Mississippi (14%), Virginia (14%), Nebraska (15%), Iowa (15%), and Arkansas (17%) hare relatively few accidents where speed ins a major factor, for example.
There are a number of obvious reasons why speed kills. You have less time to make a decision when speeding. Pedestrians hit by a speeding driver are going to have more severe injuries than pedestrians hit by a slower driver. A pedestrian hit at 30mph, for example, has a 60% chance of surviving the collision while a pedestrian hit at 40mph only has a 40% chance of survival.
One problem is speed limits: many highway speed limits weren’t designed to reduce collisions. Instead, many highway speed limits were based on the “85th percentile rule”. These speed limits were chosen based on the speed at which 85% of drivers were traveling. That means many speed limits in America aren’t set at a rate that saves lives: they’re set at the most popular limit.
Of course, even if you’re not concerned about dying (or killing somebody else) when speeding, you might be concerned about higher insurance prices. Speeding tickets can cause your car insurance premiums to significantly increase.
Traffic Deaths Have Increased Across America in Recent Years
Many people are surprised to learn that overall traffic deaths have been on the rise in the United States over the past few years. After gradually dropping during the 2000s and early 2010s, traffic deaths have started to edge higher. There are more speeding-related collisions, more traffic deaths, and more drunk driving deaths.
In 2015, for example, there was a 7.2% increase in highway deaths according to a report by the NHTSA. In 2016, the number of highway deaths rose 8%.
Some experts believe that these increased accident rates are related to smartphones. Others suggest there’s been an overall increase in population during this time period, and therefore there are more drivers on the road.
Ultimately, it doesn’t really matter why there are more speeding-related accidents on America’s roads. The point is simple: your car insurance policy, no matter how comprehensive it may be, will not protect you from a speeding-related accident. Your insurance policy will pay out in the event of a fatality – but that money will go to your loved ones.
You might have the best car insurance in the world, but it doesn’t matter when you’re involved in a high speed collision. At best, speeding leads to higher car insurance prices due to speeding tickets and at-fault collisions. At worst, speeding leads to the death of yourself, loved ones, or other people on the road.
Take a look at a few of these nasty car accidents. If you needed a reason to not drive recklessly, I offer you seven pictures of brutal car wrecks, seven reasons to drive more cautiously. Some are speed related, some are due to drunk driving and others are pure motor vehicle negligence. If you have a loved one who drives, pass it on to them and together hopefully we can help reduce motor vehicle related deaths.