2021 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Speeding-Related Crashes


A speeding-related crash is defined as one where a driver is speeding, racing, driving too fast for the conditions, or driving in excess of the posted speed limit. In the United States, in 2019, over one in four (26.3 percent) fatalities involved speeding, a proportion that has remained steady since 2017 following a decline in the prior decade. Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects, reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to a dangerous situation, and extends safe stopping distances.

Historically, road safety efforts focused on changing human behaviors to prevent crashes. The Safe System approach reframes efforts to save lives by expecting crashes to happen and focusing attention on reducing the severity of injuries when a crash occurs. By understanding the nuances of speeding-related crashes, transportation professionals can better address every aspect of crash risks and implement multiple layers of protection to ensure that everyone traveling on California roadways will go safely. Analyses presented in the police traffic services program area refer to speeding-related fatal and serious injuries.

While the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on transportation injuries in 2020 are not yet fully known, early work in California has found that while the number of injury crashes dropped, especially in the early lockdown period, the severity of crashes increased. This may be due to an increased prevalence of risky behaviors, including speeding, by these drivers, though it may also be partially caused by a reduction in congestionrelated minor crashes.

Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
Publication date: 
September 30, 2021
Publication type: 
Fact Sheet