INJURED?

Why America values speed in spite of dangers

The impact and negative consequences of an accident are a direct reflection of how fast the vehicles were traveling at the moment of the collision. The Governors Highway Safety Association points out that a rise in vehicle speed from 40 mph to 60 mph is only a 50% increase, but the force increases by 125%. This illustrates the dangers of higher speeds, but it does not explain the prevalence of speed-related accidents. 

Why do people continue to drive too fast if they have so much evidence of its danger? 

Public pressure

Government mandates used to keep the speed limits across the country lower. However, slowing down traffic affects individuals and transportation companies, as well as others. With evidence of direct ties to productivity and the voices of the public in agreement, federal, state and local lawmakers have determined higher speeds are better, regardless of the evidence. 

Societal acceptance

Some of the answers lie in cultural factors. People have developed expectations regarding traveling speeds on highways, for example, with instructions for “slower” traffic to move to the right so that vehicles exceeding the speed limit can move through without slowing down. In one survey, 23.9% of participants indicated that driving 15 mph above the posted limit on highways is acceptable. 

Police departments, state troopers and highway patrol strengthen this idea through lack of enforcement. 

Vehicle performance

Streetsblog USA notes that many vehicles have high-performance features and are able to accelerate rapidly. In fact, the auto manufacturing industry uses power and speed as selling points for many vehicles, and having the ability to obtain high speeds quickly may be all the temptation many need to do so.