The number of deadly traffic accidents involving excess speed increased from 8,650 in 2019 to 11,057 in 2021 according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Speeding has long been the leading cause of fatal accidents in Florida and the rest of the United States, but the number of speed-related deaths and catastrophic injuries has surged even higher in recent years. Many road safety experts believe this worrying rise in speed-related fatalities is being caused by dangerous habits that drivers picked up when lockdowns and travel restrictions greatly reduced traffic in 2020.
These bad habits appear to be especially common among male drivers. The NHTSA data shows that men were involved in 368,640 fatal accidents in 2021, and excessive speed was a factor in 29% of them. Speed was only a factor in 23.5% of the 128,377 fatal crashes involving female drivers. Fatal speed-related accidents are far more common on weekends and public holidays according to the NHTSA, and the demographic group most likely to be killed in these crashes are male drivers under the age of 25.
Speed-related accidents in Florida
Data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reveals that speeding and aggressive driving is a serious road safety problem in the Sunshine State. In 2021, speed-related accidents claimed the lives of 289 drivers, 97 passengers and 22 pedestrians or cyclists. These motor vehicle accidents also caused 847 serious injuries and 2,827 minor injuries. About half of the speeding motorists who caused these accidents were also driving aggressively.
Making the roads safer
Excessive speed is the leading cause of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States, and NHTSA data shows that the problem has become much worse in recent years. Steps that could be taken to lower the number of speed-related deaths include lowering speed limits, increasing speeding penalties and enforcing traffic laws more rigorously.