Less than a third of drivers surveyed in Colorado say they never or rarely speed. What does that say about the rest of us?

Nearly a Quarter Say They Do It All the Time

If you like to speed, at least some of the time, then you’re not really the rebellious rule-breaker you thought you were, just an ordinary one. According to results of a survey of drivers by the Colorado Department of Transportation, most of us press the accelerator pedal too far.

CDOT’s recently released 2016 Driving Behaviors survey shows that Coloradans engaged in a lot of risky behavior behind the wheel, including failing to wear seat belts; being influenced by marijuana, alcohol, or other drugs; and being distracted by electronic devices.

Darrell Lingk, director of CDOT’s Office of Transportation Safety, told Jesse Paul of The Denver Post:

“This survey provides us with a good but disturbing snapshot of what is actually happening on Colorado roadways. It will help us design and implement our traffic safety campaigns to address these dangerous behaviors.”

The survey results are more dramatic in the wake of a record number of auto accident fatalities in 2016. At least 605 people died on Colorado’s roadways in 2016, an 11 percent increase over 2015, when 547 died from crashes.

The survey points at a large-scale disregard for speed limits. About 24 percent of the 898 participants in the mail-in survey said they speed most or all of the time, which is an increase from survey results in 2014. About two-thirds of the recent group said they violate speed limits sometimes. And only 31 percent said they rarely or never speed.

Rules of Different Roads

Where you’re driving has a lot to do with your willingness to speed. The participants said they were most likely to drive fast on roads where the speed limits are already high and on roads leading farther away from home. About 31 percent speed on neighborhood streets; about half speed on city roads posted at 25 or 30 mph. About 73 percent sped on local highways with 55 mph limits, and 75 percent broke the legal limit on 65 mph interstates.

When You’re Fast at Heart

Younger drivers tend to speed more often than others; only 21 percent said they rarely or never sped. Whereas 49 percent of drivers aged 55 and above said they never or rarely sped.

Other speedy and lagging groups found in the survey:

  • Drivers who have lived in Colorado less than 10 years speed more often than longer-term residents.
  • Pickup truck drivers are less likely to speed than people in cars SUVs, minivans, and vans.
  • Drivers with higher incomes speed more often than those with lower incomes.
  • Men are more likely to speed on major roads than are women, even though their speeding patterns are otherwise similar.

Doing What Is Comfortable

The CDOT survey planners looked for insight into speeding by asking drivers how they felt about it. Approximately half of the participants across the state said they’re comfortable driving a little faster than allowed in 30 mph zones. Men, more than women, feel comfortable going even further beyond the limits. Older drivers were more likely than younger groups to feel comfortable driving at or below a 30 mph limit.

In 65 mph zones, more than a third of participants felt fine to push it past 70 mph. Less than 20 percent said they were OK driving at or below the speed limit.

Enforcement Perceptions

Three out of every four drivers surveyed thought they’d likely get a speeding ticket within six months by consistently driving at 35 mph in 30 mph zones. Only about half thought they’d likely get stopped for going 70-75 mph on a 65 mph road. Long-term Colorado residents, more than newcomers, expected to be caught if they were speeding on the state’s highways.

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