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Transportation

Speeding Is Now Causing About The Same Number Of Crashes As Drunk Driving

Experts say there needs to be an increased effort to go after people who drive too fast. They add that road design could also encourage drivers to speed.

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Traffic on the Katy Freeway feeder road.
Gail Delaughter
Traffic on the Katy Freeway feeder road.

According to the study from the National Transportation Safety Board, about 27% of crashes around the U.S. can now be blamed on speeding. That's not much less than the 29% that result from driving drunk.

Kara Macek with the Governors Highway Safety Association says speeding just doesn't have the same social stigma.

"Of course if you're going 90, 100 miles per hour that may raise some eyebrows," adds Macek. "But by and large people do it."

To get people to slow down, the NTSB study says there has to be more enforcement. That includes things like speed cameras which are currently banned here in Texas.

Macek says road design can also encourage people to drive too fast.

"We've kind of designed and engineered our roadways into a system that prioritizes moving vehicles very quickly," explains Macek. "And not necessarily taking into account the vulnerable road users — bicycles, pedestrians, motorcycles."

According to TxDOT's figures from 2016, there were close to 28,000 crashes around the state where drivers were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Speed was a factor in over 26,000 crashes.