New Pilot Program to Explore Ways of Reducing Speed-Related Auto Accidents
To discourage conduct that makes driving riskier—like texting while driving, drinking and driving, and speeding—safety officials have often relied on driver education. But some safety officials are now promoting new ways to reduce dangerous driving behavior.
Fewer Auto Accident Fatalities
Research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that fewer fatalities occurred in 2018 than in 2017. But police are still concerned about speeding and other threats to safety on the road. Nearly 37,000 people were killed in accidents on the road in 2018, 632 of them in Colorado.
The benefits of driver education are limited. A survey by the American Automobile Association asked 2,500 motorists about several traffic safety topics, including speeding. It turns out that even drivers who know and acknowledge that certain behavior, like speeding, is dangerous often indulge in it anyway.
Despite the perceived danger, risk of arrest, and personal and social disapproval, American drivers report engaging in a number of problematic driving behaviors. For example…more than half of drivers reported having driven while talking on a hand-held cellphone at least once in the past 30 days prior to the survey. Compared with this, the prevalence of engaging in distracted driving while using a cellphone is less for reading (41.3%) and typing a text/email (32.1%). Almost half of drivers (49%) admitted to having driven 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on a freeway, while only about 17% of drivers reported having driven without wearing a seat belt.
In response to reports like this, some non-profits that focus on road safety will soon be launching a pilot program to explore ways of reducing speed-related auto accidents by several methods, not just trying to educate drivers.
IIHS: Education Alone Isn’t Working
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently asked NHTSA to help find new ways of getting motorists to reduce speeding and its risky consequences. According to IIHS:
Measures such as encouraging the use of automated enforcement and incentivizing automakers to install intelligent speed adaptation–technology that alerts speeding drivers or automatically slows the vehicle to ensure compliance with speed limits–offer greater potential benefits than education. Promoting effective law enforcement strategies, safe speed limits and traffic-calming techniques would also be beneficial.
The Governors Highway Safety Association has agreed to partner with IIHS and the National Road Safety Foundation on a 2020 pilot program to reduce speed-related accidents. Proposals must combine proven measures, like education, with innovative ones.
“Our three organizations are teaming up because we need to rethink how we address speeding,” said GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins. “We will be taking different approaches like engineering, enforcement, and community engagement and breaking them out of their silos to more effectively target speeding and ultimately change the prevalent culture around this dangerous driving behavior.”
In Denver, one method that may be paying off is simply lowering some speed limits. Some city streets have had their speed limits reduced by 5 mph, and studies suggest that the lower speed limits may help.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation.