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Leading cause of fatal accidents: speeding and aggressive driving

According to a recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding and aggressive driving are still the leading cause of deadly accidents in Connecticut and nationwide.

In 2010, 32,885 Americans lost their lives in car accidents. There were 1.1 fatalities per 100 million miles, the lowest on record. These figures are actually extremely low, taking into consideration number of miles traveled by American passengers, suggesting that driving patterns and trends are changing. Evidence shows that traffic fatalities are on the decline, however, this largely due to better safety features in modern automobiles, not driver safety.

Despite the relatively low figures, both public and private agencies are still working to reduce the number of fatalities on the road through seatbelt campaigns, anti-texting and cellphone legislation, as well as the aggressive pursuit and prosecution of drunk drivers. With all of the potential causes of accident fatalities, it is difficult to know how to direct these efforts.

Speeding, one major cause of fatal accidents, remains a major problem. Roughly 1/3 of the 32,885 people killed in 2010 were killed in car accidents caused by speeding. A new report that surveys highway safety offices across the country is working to identify what actions are being taken to address the speeding issue in the U.S.

State efforts appear to be lacking: a mere two states have increased fines for speeding since 2005, only 11 states have anti-aggressive driving legislation, and seven states have actually raised speed limits to 85 mph over the past 7 years.

Government officials claim that the lack of attention to the issue is due to public indifference as well as a lack of resources to enforce speed limits. The Governors Highway Safety Association is encouraging states to adopt laws against aggressive driving as well as invest in the enforcement of laws in school and construction zones.

What do you think? Would we be better off with more laws to curb speeding and aggressive driving? Should we leave responsibility to the individual driver? Do you think that additional laws would help to reduce the number of fatal accidents in Connecticut?

Source: The Car Connection, "Speeding, Aggressive Driving Sill Cause 1/3 of Fatal Accidents," Richard Read, March 9, 2012.

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