FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 15, 2017
Contact: Eric Naing 202-408-1711, cell: 217-493-8294, firstname.lastname@example.org
STATEMENT OF JACKIE GILLAN, PRESIDENT, ADVOCATES FOR HIGHWAY AND AUTO SAFETY, ON THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD (NTSB) REPORT ON REDUCING SPEEDING-RELATED CRASHES
Report Reveals the Dangerous and Destructive Damage Caused by Speeding on our Roadways
Today, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its new report, Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles. This report details the staggering scope of speeding-related crashes, fatalities, injuries and costs resulting from people driving too fast. Government data show that speeding-related fatalities kill approximately 10,000 people each year, consistently accounting for 31% of all traffic fatalities. There are significant human and economic costs of speed-related crashes. From 2005 through 2014, 112,580 fatalities were attributed to speeding-related crashes. According to 2010 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed-related crashes caused $203 billion in comprehensive costs; the sum of economic costs (such as health care and lost productivity) and the value of lost quality of life. Simply put, speed kills and we can and must take action to reduce this “silent killer” on our roadways.
For over 28 years Advocates has worked in Congress and state legislatures to oppose excessive speed limits, promote enforcement and support technologies to reduce crashes. The NTSB report provides a tremendous opportunity to focus public attention on the significant safety problem of speed. It also will bring together public officials, health and safety advocates and all stakeholders to promote and adopt effective countermeasures. These improvements are overdue and urgently needed.
This report comes at an important time. Data from NHTSA showed 35,092 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 – a seven percent increase over 2014, and the largest percentage increase in nearly 50 years. Furthermore, NHTSA data for the first nine months of 2016 shows an eight percent jump in fatalities compared to the same time period in 2015. Additionally, more than 2.4 million people were injured in nearly 6.3 million police-reported traffic crashes.
There are many actions and strategies to reduce the carnage on our streets and roads and to combat excessive speed. They include lowering high speed limits and preventing dangerous speed limit increases. Six states, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, now permit speed limits of 80 mph, and Texas allows speeds as high as 85 mph. This year attacks on speed limits were considered in Illinois, and advanced in Arkansas, Idaho and Montana. There is a need to allow and expand the use of automated enforcement systems and other technology that can also make a major contribution to preventing crashes and saving lives. These include accelerated adoption of proven crash avoidance technologies such as automatic emergency braking on all new passenger vehicles, trucks and buses as well as speed limiting devices in all large trucks.
Seat belts and motorcycle helmets save lives and reduce life-threatening injuries in a crash. Every state needs a primary enforcement seat belt law for front and rear seat passengers and an all-rider motorcycle helmet law. Additionally, Advocates urges NHTSA to issue a safety design standard to reduce the severity of impact with a pedestrian or bicyclist should a front end crash occur. Roadway improvements include upgraded roadway infrastructure to guarantee safer interactions for all roadway users such as sidewalks, speed bumps, signaled intersections and bicycle lanes.
There are many opportunities for implementing commonsense and cost-effective solutions today to address the problem of deadly speed on our streets and roads. In our current crisis of mounting deaths and injuries, we should do everything possible to advance lifesaving roadway and vehicle safety measures.