In the past few months, we've had campaigns to draw attention to the dangers of distracted driving (texting, e-mailing, eating and other behaviors that take motorists' off of the road.) We've also had a crackdown seat belt wearing and stepped up efforts to curb drunken driving.
But maybe we need to have one to call attention to the dangers of speeding. A new report out this week from the Governors Highway Safety Association suggests so. The report says that speeding was a contributing factor in 33 percent of fatal crashes involving teenagers, up from 30 percent a decade ago.
That finding comes from an analysis of data from 2000 to 2011 which found at 19,447 fatal crashes involving teen drivers were speed related.
The uptick in speed-related deaths points to the need to focus more attention on the dangers of driving too fast, said Susan Ferguson, former senior vice president of research for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and author of the report.
"Curbing teen speeding is vital since no other age group has a higher crash risk," said Susan Ferguson, former senior vice president of research for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and author of the report. "Unless speeding is recognized as a dangerous behavior, much the same as drunk driving, addressing it will be difficult.
Ferguson said that speeding is more prevalent among teen males, at night, and in the presence of other teen passengers. When three or more teen passengers are in a vehicle driven by a 16-year-old male, 50 percent of fatal crashes are speeding related. Though it's not just young males who are guilty of driving too fast, she said.
Part of the problem is that speeding on freeways is widespead. In its 2011 Traffic Safety Culture Index, the Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 41. percent of drivers surveyed said driving more than 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on freeways is a serious threat and half of respondents said it was completely unacceptable. Yet 51.5 percent of respondents said they had driven at 15 miles per hour or faster on a freeway in the past month and 17 percent did it regularly.
The report comes just as July and August approach. They are among two of the three deadliest months for teen drivers, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The report says local police agencies must enforce speeding laws and consider installing automated speed cameras. It also said parents must take an active role in monitoring teen driving and encouraging safe driving by leading by example.