What Are the Risks of Speeding While Driving?

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Speeding while driving increases the risk of causing a traffic accident, crashing into work zones and injuring or killing someone, according to the National Safety Council. Speeding near school zones endangers young children, and the high economic cost of speed-related road accidents amounts to roughly $40 billion a year.

Despite public warnings about speeding, drivers continue to test speed limits when they feel rushed or distracted. Some drivers are not concerned about being caught or have a casual attitude about driving fast and racing with others on the road. The severity of speed-related crashes is often amplified by other risky behaviors, such as driving without a seat belt or while impaired, states the NSC. Lax or inconsistent enforcement of speeding laws can trigger higher numbers of traffic violations because drivers become less fearful of taking risks.

From 2003 to 2012, speeding contributed to at least 30 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes and caused approximately 120,281 deaths, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. While highways often have the highest speed limits, serous accidents occur just as frequently on regular roadways. In 2012, 30 percent of speed-related fatalities occurred on interstates and freeways, compared to 38 percent on minor roads and 27 percent on major roads.