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Determining Speed Limit Signs Based on Speeding Stats

December 6, 2019

Studying the history of accidents in an area is part of what sets speed limits. Speeding is regularly cited as a safety issue in highway accident investigations conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Local leaders decide on speed limits within the framework of federal and state standards. Here are the type of stats that influence decisions on speed limits.

How Speeding Causes Danger

Most drivers understand from driver education that traveling over the speed limit is high risk, at least for getting an expensive ticket, but also for causing an accident. Anytime a driver races too fast in areas with visible speed limit signs, they post a risk to other drivers as well. Not all drivers are paying as close attention to all the traffic surrounding them as much as they should.

So it’s easy for a lazy driver who doesn’t continuously check his or her rearview mirror to not be cognizant of a speeding driver behind them. That’s how a driver can get rear-ended unexpectedly. Usually the faster the moving vehicle, the more damage it causes if it collides with another vehicle or object. That’s why it’s wise for local leaders to use traffic calming techniques, which include speed limit signs.

Eye-Opening Speeding Stats

Statistics on speeding in the United States reveal that speed limit signs only do so much to prevent accidents, but the more the better. One of the most stunning figures is that speeding triples a motorist’s chances of a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Other key findings include:

  • almost a third of all fatal traffic accidents in 2005 resulted from speeding
  • nearly 10,000 lives were lost in 2011 due to speed-related accidents
  • in 2014, speeding passenger vehicles accounted for 78% of speed-related traffic fatalities
  • speeding killed over 10,000 lives in 2016
  • teens are more likely to speed than adult drivers

Additionally, it’s important to note that speeding in residential areas is a common citizens complaint at city and county meetings, according to the Department of Justice. Speeding clearly increases the risk of causing fatalities.

Several interesting finds from various studies point to more signage being needed to remind the most agressive drivers to pay attention to safety for themselves and others. One of the effects of media outlets reporting traffic fatality information related to driving over legal limits has been that speeding is more frowned upon by society now than in the days of muscle cars in the sixties.

For the past few decades, speeding has caused about a third of all traffic deaths, according to a 2018 NHTSA study. The organization further found that 31 percent of teen driver deaths in the United States were due to speed. Car insurance marketplace site Everquote has reported that 42 percent of motorists admit they don’t consider driving 10 mph over the speed limit to be breaking the law.

Why Signage Should Be Taken More Seriously

One of the main reasons why speed limit signage continues to be an issue affecting communities everywhere is that drivers go through waves of distractions. Drivers may forget about speeds if they’re listening to music or trying to look up information on a smartphone. On top of that, drunk drivers still pose a threat to other drivers, particularly on weekends at night. Statistics show that pedestrians are also at risk of getting killed by speeding drivers.


Increasing the volume of speed limit signs can help create a traffic calming effect. Contact Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location to learn more about speed limit signs or other types of indoor or outdoor sign-making.

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