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Is speeding to save time worth the risk?

Whether you are running late or just trying to shave some time off your commute, it can be tempting to speed, especially if you see others doing so.  But how much time can you really save?  And is it worth the risk of a ticket or a wreck?

It is relatively easy to calculate the time saved by speeding while driving at constant speeds for a long period.  For example, a 10-mile drive would take 10 minutes at 60 miles per hour, but only about 8 minutes and 34 seconds at 70 miles an hour, a savings of nearly a minute and a half -- as long as you can maintain that speed for the entire 10 miles.  However, most commutes do not take place entirely on open roads, making it difficult to calculate time savings, especially in urban areas.

A 2015 study conducted in Australia is one of the most comprehensive analyses of how much time is actually saved by speeding in urban areas.  Researchers collected data from GPS units installed in the cars of 106 participants over a period of five weeks.  The study found that the average driver drove for 5.75 hours per week, but only spent 30 minutes per week speeding.  After all, in urban areas there are limited opportunities to speed, given the amount of time drivers spend in traffic, decelerating and stopping.

On average, the drivers saved only 26 seconds per day and 3 minutes per week from speeding.  There were exceptions, of course:  some drivers saved more than 4 minutes on a few days during the study period.  However, the vast majority (more than 75 percent) of drivers never saved more than 3 minutes in a single day from speeding.

Speeding is a factor in many fatal crashes

These incremental time savings for individuals should, of course, be balanced with the risk that speeding imposes on other people.  Speeding does not only increase the risk of an accidents; it also makes accidents more severe.  A drunk or distracted driver may cause a crash, but if the driver is also speeding, the crash is likely to do far more damage and cause injuries that are far more serious.

In 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, about 27 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S. involved at least one speeding driver, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  The percentage was slightly higher in Texas, at 31 percent. Texas was also the state with the highest total number of speeding-related fatalities in 2015, with 1,105.  The NHTSA found that speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes were more likely to have been drinking than non-speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes.

Unfortunately, drivers tend to overestimate the time they save by speeding and underestimate the risks that speeding poses to other people.  If you have been involved in a wreck with a speeding driver, Burress Law PLLC can help you hold the responsible driver and their insurance company accountable.

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