Speeding is a factor in nearly one-third of all fatal crashes. Speeding entails exceeding the posted speed limit; it also means driving too fast for conditions (such as in fog, rain, or icy road conditions), regardless of the posted speed limit. Some 6.3 million vehicular crashes were reported in 2000.
When drivers speed, they cause the following:
- reduction in the amount of available time needed to avoid a crash,
- increase the likelihood of a crash
- increase the severity of a crash once it occurs
According to a report issued by the NHTSA in 2000, speed was a factor in 30 percent (12,628) of all traffic fatalities in 1999. It was second only to alcohol (39 percent) as a cause of fatal crashes.
Congress repealed the National Maximum Speed Limit in 1995. Accordingly, speeds increased on Interstate highways in the states that raised their speed limits. Twenty-four states raised their speed limits in late 1995 and in 1996. Twenty-nine states have currently raised speed limits to 70 MPH or higher on portions of their roads and highways.