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This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-024
Date: April 2010

Development of a Speeding-Related Crash Typology

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Speeding, the driver behavior of exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, has consistently been shown to be a contributing factor to a significant percentage of fatal and nonfatal crashes. As shown in figure 1, the frequency of fatal crashes and the percentages of total fatal crashes that are speeding–related (SR) have remained fairly constant between 1990 and 2006 according to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).(1) However, both are large, with the frequency ranging from 11,000 to 13,000 crashes each year and the percent ranging between 30 and 33 percent.

This figure shows a bar chart with two bars for each year between 1990 and 2006. The first bar shows speeding-related (SR) fatal crash frequency, and the second bar shows the percentage of total fatal crashes that are SR. The frequency (11,000 to 13,000) and percentage (30 to 33 percent) have remained fairly constant across years.

Figure 1. Graph. Frequency of fatal crashes and percentage of total fatal crashes that are SR.


Thus, speeding is a significant safety issue warranting attention. While the United States has seen progress in other major safety issues, such as occupant restraint use and alcohol use and driving, little if any progress has been seen with this issue.

Given the size of this problem and continually increasing speeds on freeways and nonfreeways, the U.S. Department of Transportation has instituted the Speed Management Strategic Initiative to seek more effective ways to manage crash–related effects of speeding.(2) One way to search for better speed management techniques is through a detailed examination of recent crash data in order to increase the basic knowledge of the crash–related factors that are associated with speeding. For example, the development of an SR crash typology would help define the crash, vehicle, and driver characteristics that result in a higher probability of SR crashes. Once defined, this information would provide guidance to the development of new treatments for high–risk crash types and better targeting of treatments to the road types, locations, conditions, times, and drivers that disproportionately contribute to crash risk. This report describes the development of such a typology.

The typology requires the identification of relevant crash characteristics most often associated with SR crashes. The typology seeks to answer the following questions:

  • What are the characteristics of an SR crash (e.g., type of crash, manner of collision, crash severity, etc.)?

  • Where do SR crashes most often occur (e.g., city, intersection proximity, roadway type, roadway surface condition, roadway alignment, etc.)?

  • When do SR crashes occur (e.g., time of day, day of week, etc.)?

  • Who is most likely to be involved in SR crashes (e.g., age, gender, injury severity, alcohol involvement, vehicle type, safety belt usage, number of vehicle occupants, motorcycle helmet use, etc.)?




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