Speed a persistent killer on U.S. roads

March 12, 2012 at 8:57 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 12 (UPI) -- Safety campaigns have yielded progress in every area of U.S. highway safety except speeding, a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association found.

Speed was a factor in 31 percent of U.S. traffic deaths in 2010, when 10,530 people were killed in speeding-related crashes, the report said.

The "Survey of the States: Speeding and Aggressive Driving," which includes responses from highway safety offices in all 50 states and Guam, revealed few state laws intended to prevent vehicle fatalities had been enacted since the last report in 2005.

Seven states -- Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia -- increased speed limits to as high as 85 mph on certain highways, despite research that showed an increase in traffic deaths was attributable to raised speed limits on all road types after the 1995 repeal of federal speed limits.

Two states increased fines for speeders -- Connecticut for all speeders and West Virginia for drivers of commercial vehicles. Only Indiana, has enacted an aggressive driver law since 2005 -- bringing to 11 the number of states with these laws, the report said.

In citing barriers to controlling speeding, 78 percent of survey respondents selected public indifference to speeding, 61 percent said there is a public perception that speed enforcement is just a revenue generator and 43 percent said lack of federal funding for enforcement is a problem.

"Not having enough officers available to conduct speed enforcement, when this form of aggressive driving is so prevalent, makes it difficult to convince offenders that speeding is unacceptable," Troy E. Costales, chairman of GHSA, said in a statement.

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