2022 SafeTREC Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Speed-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 2020, over one in four (29.0 percent) fatalities involved speeding, a rate that increased after plateauing in the late 2010s, following a decline earlier in the 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. Analyses presented in the police traffic services program area refer to speeding-related fatal and serious injuries. 

The United States Department of Transportation uses the Safe System Approach to work towards zero roadway fatalities and serious injuries. Reducing kinetic energy is central to the Safe System approach. The Safe System Approach recognizes human mistakes and vulnerabilities, and designs a system with many redundancies in place to protect everyone. Designing streets to limit the impact of kinetic energy transfer from speed-related crashes, as well as to protect people even when they make unsafe decisions, are examples of providing redundancies in the system to build forgiveness, limit speeding, and reduce fatal and serious injury. 

Garrett Fortin
Jill F. Cooper
Publication date: 
September 12, 2022
Publication type: 
Fact Sheet