New Study Looks At Why Drivers Speed

A new study from the Texas Transportation Institute says if a driver tends to speed, their personality probably has a lot to do with it.


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To do that study, Texas A&M transportation experts put  GPS devices in the cars of 80 drivers who travel the highways and roads around College Station.  The study included drivers of all ages, both men and women. 

For the purpose of the study speeding was defined as travelling ten miles or more above the speed limit.

Researcher Laura Higgins says they found that most of the speeding occured not on the interstate, but on the rural Farm-to-Market roads with speed limits between 55 and 60 miles per hour.

“For the majority of people who did speed occasionally, it tended to depend on the situation they were in, if they were on a road where there wasn’t a lot of traffic, if they were in an area where they didn’t feel like the hazards weren’t as great, if they didn’t expect to see a police car.” 

As for habitual speeders, the study found personality factors that are linked to aggressive driving and road rage. Higgins says they made those findings during focus groups when they asked participants about their reaction to posted speed limits.

“Their response would likely be, well, that’s a target, you should aim for around there. And a couple of them even jokingly said, well that’s the minimum speed that you should be going.  You should at least be keeping up with that.”

Higgins says when they asked participants what it would take to get them to stop speeding, they responded that in-vehicle devices showing how much fuel they used at each speed would have a big impact on their driving behavior.

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Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

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