Motor vehicle accidents in Michigan and around the country claimed more than 40,000 lives in 2021, and excessive speed was a factor in many of them. Speeding and driving too fast for prevailing road conditions is now the leading cause of fatal car accidents according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the problem is getting worse. Between 2018 and 2021, the number of road users killed in speed-related accidents rose by 28.1% from 8,632 to 11,057.
The most worrying surge in speed-related deaths occurred in 2020 when travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders emptied the roads. Experts believe that these conditions explain a sudden rise in risky behavior like speeding and driving drunk. In Michigan, 2,344 of the 9,293 fatal motor vehicle accidents that took place in 2020 involved at least one driver who was exceeding the posted speed limit or driving at a dangerous speed.
Young drivers and motorcyclists
Young drivers and motorcyclists are the groups most likely to be killed in speed related crashes according to the NHTSA data. In 2020, speed was a factor in more than 35% of the fatal accidents involving motorcycles and drivers under the age of 25. The data also reveals that men are more likely to drive at reckless speeds than women. Between 2012 and 2021, speed was a factor in 29% of fatal accidents involving male drivers and 23.5% of the deadly crashes involving female drivers.
Harsher speeding penalties
Motorists who drive at excessive speeds are a danger to all road users. Excessive speed is a factor in more than a quarter of all fatal traffic accidents, and the problem has become much worse in recent years. If the penalties for speeding and reckless driving were made more severe, the nation’s roads could become safer.