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The Culture of Speeding and How We Can Change It

Curbing the need for speed during COVID-19

Tim Burrows wearing dark jacket, white shirt, head shot
Tim Burrows, Governors Highway Safety Associations' National Law Enforcement Liaison

WASHINGTON, DC. — The COVID-19 related stay-at-home orders affected our daily lives in ways that were expected, and also in ways that we did not anticipate. Sparse traffic on U.S. roads during the pandemic spawned a spike in speeding and other types of reckless driving.

"Every state has reported greater than average speeds, even though there is a lot less traffic volume," said Tim Burrows, national law enforcement liaison, Governors Highway Safety Associations. "People are using highways as speedways. This situation has created unsafe opportunities that we do not want drivers taking."

Pam Shadel Fischer, director of external engagement and special projects for the Governors Highway Safety Association, explained that the increase in average speed is not just happening on highways. It's also happening on our local roads, secondary roads and urban areas.

To add even more concern, Memorial Day starts the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. Research tells us that young people spend more time driving to seasonal jobs and social events, often at night and with extra passengers. Pairing this with inexperience behind the wheel and the temptation to speed on our empty roads add to the lethal mix this summer.

Pam Shadel Fischer wearing dark jacket, black with white floral print top, head shot
Pam Shadel Fischer, Director of External Engagement and Special Projects for the Governors Highway Safety Association

"People think, I speed, I get away with it and nothing bad ever happens, but the reality is, bad things do happen," Fischer added. "Speed limits are not suggestions."

In 2018, one-third of traffic fatalities in the U.S. involved speeding.

Ford Driving Skills for Life urges parents to lead by example and also educate their teens about the importance of safe driving, not only as a driver but also as a passenger. Parents are role models when it comes to speeding, as well as all other safe behavior.

Watch this episode of The Daily Drive presented by Ford Driving Skills for Life for more helpful information for parents from Shadel Fischer and Burrows.