WASHINGTON – Leadfoots on the road are nothing new, but the problem seems to be getting worse.
A new report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association shows that since 2000, there has been real progress when it comes to getting drivers to wear seat belts, and the number of drunken driving deaths is declining. But during that same period, the number of traffic deaths linked to speeding has increased by 7 percent.
“People seem to regard speed limits as guidelines, rather than the law, so we really need a big culture change, which is going to take a long, long time,” Barbara Harsha, executive director of the GHSA, tells WTOP.
Speed is said to be a factor in one out of every three deadly crashes. In 2010 alone, the GHSA says 10,530 people lost their lives in speeding-related crashes in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing 31 percent of all traffic deaths.
“There’s sort of an attitude in general that, ‘Traffic laws don’t apply to me, they apply to the other guy,'” Harsha says.
Perhaps more troubling, the GHSA says 35 states, including Maryland and Virginia, are seeing reductions in the number of speed enforcement personnel.
The association is recommending a broader, targeted approach on aggressive driving as a way to help cut down on the number of speeders.