# Speeding. Probability of death at different impact speeds

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1 Speeding CRASH FACTSHEET 2012 CRASH STATISTICS FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31 DECEMBER 2011 Prepared by the Ministry of Transport In this fact sheet speeding is defined as driving too fast for the conditions. The faster you go, the more likely you are to crash and the greater your risk of serious injury or death 1. No matter what causes a crash, vehicle speed directly affects the force of impact. Probability of death at different impact speeds Collision type Probability of death 10% 30% 50% Pedestrian struck by car 30km/h 40km/h 45km/h Car driver in side-impact collision with another car 50km/h 65km/h 75km/h Car driver in frontal impact with another car 70km/h 95km/h 105km/h The table above, based on a Monash University report 2, shows the fatality risk of three collision types. The first row shows the fatality risk to a pedestrian hit by a car, the second shows the fatality risk for the driver of a car in a side collision, and the last row shows the fatality risk for the driver of a car in a frontal collision. At 30km/h pedestrians have about a 90 percent chance of surviving the impact of a motor vehicle, whereas if struck at 45km/h they have only a 50 percent chance of surviving. As speed increases, there is an increase in the following factors and, in turn, an associated increase in the risk of crash involvement 1 : Stopping distance both the distance travelled during reaction time and the distance travelled after the brakes are applied The probability of exceeding the critical speed on a curve The chance of other road users misjudging how fast the speeding driver is travelling The probability of a rear-end crash if the driver has not accounted for the increased speed by increasing the following distance. In 2011, speeding was a contributing factor in 75 fatal crashes, 341 serious injury crashes and 1,081 minor injury crashes. These crashes resulted in 83 deaths, 461 serious injuries and 1,656 minor injuries. The total social cost 3 of crashes involving drivers speeding was about \$675 million, which is approximately 22 percent of the social cost associated with all injury crashes. 1 Patterson, Frith and Small (2000). 2 Archer et al (2008) 3 Definitions for fatal, serious and minor injuries and social cost are in Terminology at the end of the fact sheet.

2 Percentage of crashes with driving too fast for the conditions cited as a contributing factor ( ) Minor Serious Fatal 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% Percentage As crash severity increases, so does the contribution of drivers speeding. In New Zealand, for the years 2009 to 2011, driver speed was a factor in 30 percent of fatal crashes, 19 percent of serious injury crashes and 14 percent of minor injury crashes. Speed only 13% Speed and alcohol/drugs in fatal crashes ( ) Alcohol/drugs and speed 17% Alcohol/drugs only 16% Other 54% As shown in the graph, the combination of speeding and alcohol/drugs contributed to 17 percent of fatal crashes. Speeding alone contributed to 13 percent, and alcohol/drugs alone to 16 percent, of fatal crashes. So speeding and/or alcohol/drugs are contributing factors in 46 percent of all fatal crashes. Open road not involving speeding, 50% Speeding in fatal crashes by road type ( ) Urban road involving speeding, 9% Open road involving speeding, 21% Urban road not involving speeding, 19% Twenty-one percent of all fatal crashes are open road crashes that involve speeding as a contributing factor. A further 9 percent are urban crashes in which speeding is a contributing factor. The contribution of speeding to fatal crashes is similar for both open road and urban crashes. Speeding was a contributing factor in 32 percent of urban fatal crashes and 29 percent of open road fatal crashes. Percentages may not add to 100 percent due to rounding.

3 Who dies? For every 100 drivers or riders who died in road crashes in which speeding was a contributing factor, 50 of their passengers and another 17 road users died with them. Time series Age Deaths in crashes in which speeding was a contributing factor ( ) Passengers with Other road speed-involved users drivers Speedinvolved drivers Percentage of all deaths % % % % % % % % Total % Crashes and casualties with speeding as a contributing factor Crashes involving speed Casualties from crashes involving speed Fatal Injury Deaths Injuries Year Number % Number % Number % Number % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % % 83 29% % Note: The police Traffic Crash Report form was modified in The speeding ( too fast for conditions ) data since this change are not strictly comparable to earlier data.

4 Mean speeds The following graphs show the results of surveys that monitor speeds of unimpeded vehicles in both 100km/h speed limit areas and urban 50km/h areas 4. Monitoring the speeds of unimpeded vehicles measures driver choice of speed. This measure provides information on the effectiveness of speed management measures and information for developing safety policies. Open road speed ( ) Speed (km/h) Year Mean open road speed 85th percentile open road speeds Note: 85 th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed. Urban road speed ( ) Speed (km/h) Year Mean urban road speed 85th percentile urban road speeds Note: 85 th percentile speed means 15 percent of the vehicles surveyed were travelling faster than this speed. 4 This is where vehicles are unimpeded by the presence of other vehicles (that is, there is at least 4 seconds headway between the measured vehicle and the vehicle in front of it) or by environmental features such as traffic lights, intersections, hills, corners or road works.

5 Drivers involved in fatal crashes Bus Motorcycle Truck Car/van Drivers involved in fatal crashes by vehicle type (annual average ) Drivers in fatal crashes No speeding involved Speeding involved From 2009 to 2011, speeding was a contributing factor in fatal crashes for 21 percent of car and van drivers, 31 percent of motorcyclists and 5 percent of truck drivers. No bus or taxi drivers were involved in fatal crashes that had speeding as a contributing factor. Speeding drivers in fatal crashes by age group (annual average ) 30 45% Drivers Number of speeding drivers Percentage of age group 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% Percentage of age group % Age groups Speeding drivers in fatal crashes ( ) Males Females Total Age Number % Number % Number % % 7 21% 60 39% % 13 26% 72 38% % 3 10% 32 29% % 1 6% 21 19% % 1 5% 26 20% % 0 0% 22 18% % 2 10% 15 12% % 0 0% 8 7% % 2 9% 6 7% % 2 3% 15 6% Total % 31 10% % Note: Rows and columns do not add up to the totals because the age or sex of some drivers was not recorded. The and year age groups had the greatest number of drivers in fatal crashes involving speeding. In these age groups, percent of the drivers in fatal crashes had speed involvement. Males have a higher proportion of involvement in speed-related crashes.

6 Unknown/other Never licenced Speeding drivers in fatal crashes: percentage of each licence type ( ) Disqualified Full Restricted Learner 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Percentage involving speed Licence status of speeding drivers in fatal crashes ( ) Disqualified and never licensed drivers in fatal crashes are much more likely to be speeding (46 percent and 53 percent, respectively) than drivers with a full licence (14 percent). Drivers with restricted or learner licences are more likely to be in speedinvolved fatal crashes than those with full licences. However, this group falls into the younger age categories where speeding is a big contributor to fatal crashes, and this accounts for some of the difference. Together, disqualified and never licensed drivers comprise 15 percent of all drivers in speed-related fatal crashes. Never licenced 6% Learner 12% Restricted 17% Disqualified 9% Unknown/other 9% Full 47% Note: Unknown/other includes drivers with an expired, unknown or wrong licence class. Disqualified includes drivers who have been forbidden to drive. Types of crash Types of fatal crashes where speeding was a factor (annual average ) Overtaking Head on Lost control/off road Obstruction/rear end Intersection Pedestrian Other No speeding involved Speeding involved Crashes

7 Loss of control and head-on crashes are the most common types of fatal crash involving speeding. Over four-fifths of the fatal crashes in which speed was a factor fall into these categories. When do crashes involving speeding occur? Fatal crashes with drivers speeding as a factor by time of day and day of week (annual average ) Speeding crashes % 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Percentage Day of week / hour of day Number of crashes involving speed Percentage of all crashes which involve speed as a factor Note: The week is divided into 4-hour blocks, beginning Monday, with days labelled at 0000 hours. Fatal crashes involving speeding by time of day and day of week ( ) Day ( ) Evening ( ) Night ( ) Day Number % Number % Number % Monday 16 23% 7 44% 5 42% Tuesday 7 10% 9 45% 7 37% Wednesday 11 15% 2 10% 15 45% Thursday 16 21% 11 42% 10 38% Friday 14 19% 17 49% 22 45% Saturday 24 30% 11 35% 30 41% Sunday 25 30% 13 54% 10 50% Total % 70 41% 99 43% Note: On the day shown, night begins at 2200 and finishes the following day at Seatbelts Drivers in speed-related crashes are less likely to wear seatbelts than drivers in crashes in which speed is not a factor. Between 2009 and 2011, at least 32 percent of the car and van drivers who died in speed-related crashes were not restrained at the time of the crash. This compares with 20 percent for drivers in fatal crashes that did not involve speed. Restraint use was not recorded for about 16 percent of driver deaths, so the level of restraint use could be even lower than indicated.

8 The recent history of speed-related legislation In 1967, driving at an unreasonably slow speed became a traffic offence. In 1971, the Speeding Infringement System was introduced. On 4 December 1973, the maximum open road speed limit was reduced from 55mph to 50mph (80km/h) as part of fuel conservation measures. In 1975, speed limit and road signs were changed over to the metric system. On 1 July 1985, the open road speed limit was increased from 80km/h to 100km/h for all vehicles except heavy motor vehicles, articulated vehicles and vehicles towing trailers. In 1989, a new schedule of infringement fees was introduced, including increased fees for speeding infringements. In October 1993, speed cameras were introduced. On 1 March 1999, a new provision of the Land Transport Act came into force allowing roadside suspension for driving at 50km/h or more above the posted speed limit. In 2001, the Land Transport (Road Safety Enforcement) Amendment Act 2001 removed legal impediments to the operation of urban speed cameras. In 2003, the Land Transport (Unauthorised Street and Drag Racing) Amendment Act created offences for street racing, wheel spinning and pouring slippery substances on the road to allow wheel spinning. Offenders can have their vehicles impounded for 28 days. On 25 February 2003, the Setting of Speed Limits Rule was signed, which set out the procedures for road controlling authorities to set enforceable speed limits. On 3 May 2004, the open road speed limit for all heavy vehicles was standardised at 90 km/h (except school buses, which remains at 80km/h). The speed limit for light vehicles towing trailers was also increased to 90 km/h. On 16 January 2006, a new provision of the Land Transport Act came into force allowing roadside licence suspension for driving at 40km/h or more above the posted speed limit. Terminology Fatal injuries: injuries that result in death within 30 days of the crash. Serious injuries: fractures, concussions, internal injuries, crushings, severe cuts and lacerations, severe general shock necessitating medical treatment and any other injury involving removal to and detention in hospital. Minor injuries: injuries of a minor nature such as sprains and bruises. Social cost: a measure of the total cost of road crashes to the nation. It includes: loss of life and life quality; loss of productivity; and medical, legal, court, and property damage costs. Casualty: person who sustained fatal, serious or minor injuries.

9 Additional Information For further information on crash statistics see Motor Vehicle Crashes in New Zealand, the annual statistical statement produced by the Ministry of Transport. This publication is available online at Enquires relating to crash statistics may be directed to the Ministry of Transport, PO Box 3175, Wellington, or by at For more information about road safety, visit the Ministry of Transport website at A selection of fact sheets is available via the research section of the Ministry of Transport website. These include: Crash facts: Travel survey: Alcohol and drugs Comparing travel modes Speed Driver travel Cyclists Parking Diverted attention Walking Fatigue Cycling Motorcyclists Public transport Pedestrians Motorcycling Trucks Risk on the road Young drivers Introduction and mode comparison Drivers and their passengers Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists References: Archer, J., Fotheringham, N., Symmons, M. and Corben B. (2008) The Impact of Lowered Speed Limits in Urban and Metropolitan Areas Monash University Accident Research Centre report 276. Patterson, T.L., Frith, W.J., and Small, M.W. (2000) Down with Speed: A review of the literature, and the impact of speed on New Zealanders Accident Compensation Corporation and Land Transport Safety Authority. Wellington.

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