Ohio State Highway Patrol Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Introduction • Speeding is a serious safety issue. • Speed reduces the time drivers have to avoid crashes and it increases the likelihood of crashing and the severity of crashes that do occur. • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is one of the most prevalent reported factors associated with crashes. • Year in and year out, excessive speed is a significant contributing factor in a high-percentage of fatal crashes in Ohio. • NHTSA estimates the economic cost to society of speed-related crashes to be more than $29 billion each year. Health care costs alone are about $4 billion per year.
Effects of a crash • In a high-speed crash, a passenger vehicle is subjected to forces so severe that the vehicle structure can't withstand the force of the crash and thus can't sufficiently protect occupants from serious injury. • The performance of restraint systems such as airbags and safety belts are compromised in high-speed crashes. • Also true of roadside hardware and safety features such as barriers, crash cushions, and bridge rails, which are designed to reduce crash severity by absorbing crash energy or redirecting errant vehicles away from stationary roadside objects. • Higher truck speeds bring additional problems including increased tire tread wear, a rise in tire-weakening operation temperature, longer stopping distances, and increased brake wear.
Effects of a crash • Roadway design factors, including how far ahead a driver can see, are compromised if vehicles travel faster than circumstances warrant. • Other vehicles and pedestrians are put at risk by speeding drivers whose distances they may not be able to judge accurately. • Recent studies have shown that drivers who run red lights are likely to be speeding and that motorcyclists who crash with other vehicles making left turns also are likely to be speeding.
Effects of Speed on Crashes • The higher the travel speed, the greater the risk of serious injury or death in a crash. • Vehicles and their occupants in motion have kinetic energy that is dissipated in a crash. • The greater the energy that must be dissipated, the greater the chances of severe injury or death. • The laws of physics tell us that crash severity increases disproportionately with vehicle speed. A frontal impact at 35 mph, for example, is one-third more violent than one at 30 mph.
Speed influences crashes in four basic ways • It increases the distance a vehicle travels from when a driver detects an emergency until the driver reacts. • It increases the distance needed to stop a vehicle once an emergency is perceived. • Crash severity increases by the square of the speed so that, when speed increases from 40 to 60 mph, speed goes up 50 percent while the energy released in a crash more than doubles. • Higher crash speeds reduce the ability of vehicles and restraint systems to protect occupants.
Young drivers speed more than all other age groups • In a study of drivers on limited access highways, high-speed drivers were more often male and more often judged to be younger than 30. • Studies in California have found that the rate of speeding violations per mile traveled is at least three times as high for drivers 16-19 years old as it is for drivers age 30 and older. • Although speeding is a problem among all driver age groups, the crashes and violations of young drivers are much more likely to be related to speed than is the case for drivers of other ages -- and the motor vehicle crash death rate per 100,000 people is especially high among 16-24 year-olds.
Young drivers speed more than all other age groups • NHTSA analysis found that the relative proportion of speed-related fatal crashes decreases with increasing driver age. About 37 percent of all drivers age 14-19 involved in fatal crashes nationally were in speed-related crashes, but the percentage among drivers 70 and older decreased to seven percent. • At all ages, male drivers are more likely than female drivers to be involved in speed-related fatal crashes.
Does the speed limit matter? Don’t drivers speed anyway? • Many drivers tend to drive somewhat faster than posted speed limits, no matter what the limits. • The more important speed-related safety issue on freeways involves the proportion of vehicles traveling at very high speeds, not the proportion violating the speed limit. • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducts frequent monitoring of free-flowing travel speeds on interstate highways. Results of these studies reveal that, in general, higher speed limits lead to greater proportions of cars traveling at very high speeds.
Does the speed limit matter? Don’t drivers speed anyway? • In New Mexico, which raised its limits to 65 mph on rural interstates in 1987, the proportion of motorists exceeding 70 mph grew from five percent shortly after speed limits were raised to 36 percent in 1993. After speed limits were further increased to 75 mph in 1996, more than 42 percent of motorists exceeded 75 mph. • In Maryland, which retained 55 mph limits on rural interstates until 1995, the proportion traveling faster than 70 mph remained virtually unchanged at seven percent during 1988-93. By 1994, 12-15 percent of cars were exceeding 70. • In Virginia, which switched to 65 mph limits, the percentage exceeding 70 mph went from eight percent in 1988 to 29 percent by 1992 and 39 percent by 1994.
Speed Limits • Speed limits are typically set based on roadway design. • Design speed is not necessarily a safe travel speed. • The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials defines design speed as, “The maximum safe speed that can be maintained when conditions are so favorable that the design features govern.” • It is the maximum speed at which drivers can maintain a safe level of vehicle control on a particular section of highway under the conditions for which the highway was designed. • Speed limits are set somewhat lower because conditions are not always favorable and design features do not always warrant higher speeds. Many motorists also assume there is a kind of built-in tolerance factor in speed limit enforcement, so they exceed the limit regardless of what it is.
Commercial Vehicle Speeds • Large trucks require much longer distances than cars to stop. Lower speed limits for trucks make heavy vehicle stopping distances closer to those of lighter vehicles. • Slower truck speeds allow automobile drivers to pass trucks more easily. • Crashes involving large trucks not only can cause massive traffic tie-ups in congested areas, but they put other road users at great risk. • Nationally, a total of 98 percent of the people killed in two-vehicle crashes involving a passenger vehicle and a large truck are occupants of the passenger vehicles. • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety studies have shown that lower speed limits for trucks on 65 mph highways lower the proportion traveling faster than 70 mph without increasing variation among vehicle speeds.
Aggressive drivers – Who are they? • These high risk drivers climb into the anonymity of an automobile and take out their frustrations on anybody at any time. • For them, frustration levels are high, and level of concern for fellow motorists is low. • They run stop signs and red lights, speed, tailgate, weave in and out of traffic, pass on the right, make improper and unsafe lane changes, make hand and facial gestures, scream, honk, and flash their lights. • They drive at speeds far in excess of the norm which causes them to: follow too closely, change lanes frequently and abruptly without notice (signals), pass on the shoulder or unpaved portions of the roadway, and leer at and/or threaten - verbally or through gestures - motorists who are thoughtless enough to be in front of them.
What to do when confronted by an aggressive driver • First and foremost make every attempt to get out of their way. • Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own in your travel lane. • Wear your safety belt. It will it hold you in your seat and behind the wheel in case you need to make an abrupt driving maneuver and it will protect you in a crash. • Avoid eye contact.
What to do when confronted by an aggressive driver • Ignore gestures and refuse to return them. • Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location, and if possible, direction of travel. • If you have a cell phone, and can do it safely, call the Highway Patrol at 1-877-7-PATROL to report aggressive drivers or other potential driving dangers, or to receive non-emergency highway help • In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1. • If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash farther down the road, stop a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for law enforcement police to arrive and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.
Tip on how to deal with aggressive drivers • Avoid the challenges or confrontations of an aggressive driver and support law enforcement's efforts to rid the streets and highways of this menace.
Final Thought • According to a NHTSA study: • The majority of drivers in the United States consider speeding and other forms of unsafe driving to be a major threat to the personal safety of themselves and their families. More than six out of 10 drivers (61%) say that speeding by other people is a major threat to personal safety of themselves and their families. • The threat of unsafe driving is real, rather than hypothetical for many drivers. More than six out of 10 drivers (62%) report that the behavior of another driver has been a threat to them or their passengers within the past year.
Ohio State Highway Patrol Speeding and Aggressive Driving Questions? Comments? Personal Experiences? http://www.statepatrol.ohio.gov