July 19, 2022 | Washington, DC
As part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s comprehensive safety strategy to prevent traffic deaths, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is launching a public education campaign across the country to address one of America’s most dangerous driving behaviors. Tomorrow, the agency kicks off the Speeding Wrecks Lives campaign aimed at changing general attitudes toward speeding and reminding drivers of the deadly consequences.
The campaign, which will run July 20-August 14, is supported by an $8 million national media buy featuring English and Spanish-language ads running on television, radio and digital platforms. The ads target drivers ages 18 to 44, who data show are most likely to be involved in speeding-related fatal crashes.
According to NHTSA data, 11,258 people died in speeding-related crashes in 2020, and speeding was a contributing factor in 29% of all fatal crashes. Even with fewer cars on the road during the pandemic, 2020 saw a dramatic increase (17%) in speeding-related deaths compared to 2019. The data also showed additional concerning statistics in 2020:
- Local roads saw the most speeding, with 87% of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurring on non-interstate roads.
- Speeding contributed to 37% of the fatal crashes in work zones.
- Speeding was a factor in more fatal crashes on wet roads than dry roads.
- Drinking and speeding is the deadliest combination. Of the drivers involved in fatal crashes, 37% were speeding and had a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher.
“Much like impaired driving, speeding can steal the lives of everyone using our roads: drivers, passengers, pedestrians and cyclists,” said Dr. Steven Cliff, NHTSA’s Administrator. “We cannot accept the status quo. Speed-related deaths aren’t inevitable. They’re preventable, and everyone has a role in addressing this crisis on our nation’s roadways.”
To help spread this message at the state level, NHTSA has developed a toolkit of resources for its partners, including a media work plan, sample press release and enforcement-themed assets.
Ending speeding-related deaths is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, makes significant investments in highway safety. In January, Secretary Pete Buttigieg unveiled the National Roadway Safety Strategy, which includes a special focus on safer speeds. The long-term plan aims to save lives by leveraging road design and other infrastructure interventions, and focusing on safer speed limit setting, education, and equitable traffic enforcement.