Although traffic fatalities are dropping overall, excessive speed remains a leading cause of preventable deaths. Nationally, about a third of US traffic fatalities are linked to speeding, and that holds true in Washington. Of the 437 people who died in traffic in 2012, 159 of those deaths included speed as a contributing factor.
“Speeding deaths are entirely preventable,’” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “They result from the decision to speed. That decision creates risk for not only the speeding driver, but everyone else on the road with them.”
NHTSA’s report, released last week, has other troubling news: even though 91-percent of those surveyed agreed that people need to slow down, they’re apparently thinking of other people. More than a quarter of those surveyed admit speeding themselves, often “without thinking.”
“Speed causes some collisions, and makes others worse,” Batiste said. “It turns what should be fender-benders into fatals.”
Why do people speed? NHTSA’s survey found the most common reason is that they’re running late for an event or appointment.
In a news release sent last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said "We all have places we need to go, but it's never the right decision to put ourselves, our families and others in harm's way to get there faster."
Chief Batiste echoed that sentiment.
“Just leave earlier,” he said. “There’s no point in arriving at a play, or ball game, or other fun event all stressed out from traffic. If you speed, you put yourself at risk of not arriving at all.”