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Safer Speeds

School Zone sign: Speed Limit 20 when flashing.Promote safer speeds in all roadway environments through a combination of thoughtful, equitable, context-appropriate roadway design, targeted education, outreach campaigns, and enforcement.

The Department believes it is important to prioritize safety and moving individuals at safe speeds.1 Both exceeding the posted speed limit and driving too fast for conditions are speeding-related crash factors. 

The Effects of Speed on Roadway Fatalities

Speeding increases both the frequency and severity of crashes, yet it is both persistent and largely accepted as the norm amongst the traveling public.2 Unsafe speeds are a well-documented and understood factor in death and injury, especially among people outside of a vehicle. Managing speeds and addressing issues of speeding will improve safety. 

Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Death

Speeding is a significant contributor to deaths on our roadways and is particularly hazardous to pedestrians. Yet, speeding remains worryingly common.

pedestrian risk by speed chart

Sources: Fatality Analysis Reporting System; Early Estimates of Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities and Fatality Rate by Sub-Categories in 2020, DOT HS 813 118, June 2021; AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Impact Speed and a Pedestrian’s Risk of Severe Injury or Death; National Traffic Speeds Survey III: 2015, DOT HS 812 485, March 2018. 

Speeding-Related Fatalities

The data visualization below provides a tool to better understand the impacts of speeding-related crashes on roadway fatalities. View a full-screen version of the below data visualization on speeding-related fatalities.

Achieving Safe Speeds

In alignment with the Safe System Approach, achieving safe speeds requires a multifaceted, equitable approach that leverages road design and other infrastructure interventions, speed limit setting, education, and enforcement. 

Roadway design and other infrastructure factors play a significant role in managing speeds and can deter excessive speeding behaviors from occurring in the first place.

Key Departmental Actions to Enable Safer Speeds

View a full-screen version of the below NRSS Dashboard.

1 Source: NHTSA FARS files 2010-2018, FARS 1st release 2019.
2 WHO: Facts - Road Safety - Speed