In a recent article for the Burlington Free Press, Lt. John Flannigan, Commander of Vermont's state police safety program was very direct regarding Vermont drivers: "We have a speeding problem." After a decline in citations for speeding offenses from 2012-2014, the past few years have seen a marked increase. As 2017 comes to a close, Vermont troopers have issued at least 8975 citations on interstate and town highways. This is a 34% increase over 2016 numbers and a 65% increase over 2015 citations.
Interestingly, the correlations between speeding, crashes, and injuries aren't entirely direct. A report released this summer by the National Transportation Safety Board states, "The relationship between speed and crash involvement is complex, and it is affected by factors such as road type, driver age, alcohol impairment, and roadway characteristics like curvature, grade, width, and adjacent land use."
However, while multiple factors effect crashes, speed is directly related to injury. "...The relationship between speed and injury severity is consistent and direct. Higher vehicle speeds lead to larger changes in velocity in a crash, and these velocity changes are closely linked to injury severity," states the report.
Earlier this year, Drivemode released a study that showed how states ranked in terms of driving over the average speed limit and Vermont was at the top of the list. We took a look at the numbers again in December; data derived anonymously from almost 25,000 Vermont drivers showed they were still near the top, and averaging 8 miles over the speed limit. Vermont's top interstate speed limit is 65 mph, which is the slowest interstate limit in the country. In contrast, our study also showed that in states with the highest average speed limit, such as Idaho and Texas, drivers were falling well below the limit.
Drivemode's co-founder and product manager Jeff Standard, discussed our findings.
"It was interesting to us to see in absolute terms speed, as well as relative to a benchmark, how people drive, because it can also bring up the question 'Should speed limits be re-evaluated?' It's those types of insights where we take a look at driving behavior across several different cuts to get an overall sense of driver safety."
Want to know how your state ranks? In the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing our updated findings on which states are exceeding speed limits, and which may be also be dangerously under limits. Seeing driving trends from state to state, relative to higher or lower speed limits, indeed highlights the potential need for speed limit reevaluations.