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How Many Car Wrecks Are Caused by Speeding?

Published on May 21, 2024 at 8:30 pm in Car Accidents.

How many car wrecks are caused by speeding

When we’re in our cars on the road, we see vehicles pass us that are driving way too fast. Posted speed limits are intended to keep people safe on our roadways, and between high amounts of traffic and possibly poor road or weather conditions, drivers who decide to speed can often cause wrecks.

This brings up the question: How many car wrecks are caused by speeding? And why do people decide that driving faster than the posted speed limit is okay?

Keep reading to find out how speed plays into car accidents and the drivers who choose to break the law.

Speed-Related Crash Statistics

“Speed kills.” We’ve all heard that phrase before, and according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 28% of all fatal crashes in 2021 were speed-related. That means approximately 11,062 fatal speed-related crashes caused 12,330 unnecessary deaths during that year.

Drivers who make the choice to operate their vehicles at higher than recommended speeds often cause devastating accidents that are not only fatal but also leave those involved injured, including themselves. In 2021, an estimated 328,946 people were injured in speed-related traffic crashes, a 7% increase from 2020.

Kentucky State Police (KSP) reported contributing factors for all vehicle collisions in 2022. “Unsafe speed” was a contributing factor for 1,166 crashes (1.07% of the total), and “too fast for conditions” was a contributing factor for 3,717 crashes (3.42% of the total).

Why Do Drivers Speed?

If we know that speed kills, why do people still drive so fast and put not only themselves but others at risk of injury or death on the road?

The NHTSA explains the following as contributing factors as to why people speed when they’re behind the wheel:

Running Late

People on their way to an appointment, work, or school often run behind schedule.

When someone is in a hurry to get somewhere, they’ll use the fact that they’re “running late” as an excuse for their aggressive actions and choice to drive above the posted speed limit.


Likely one of the most frequently cited contributing factors for aggressive driving and speeding is traffic congestion on the road.

This often ties into the “running late” factor, as drivers who are already impatient on their way to an appointment are likely to become frustrated and irate more easily when stuck behind slower-moving traffic.

Disregard for Others or the Law

While most drivers operate their vehicles safely and within the law, sometimes, any driver might have an aggressive episode that passes quickly enough. However, for a small number of drivers, aggressive behavior such as speeding, abruptly changing lanes, or driving too close is how they drive all the time.


Another factor for why people speed or make other aggressive driving choices is that when a driver is in a car, especially alone, they can develop a sense of detachment from everything outside their vehicle.

They get a sense that they are an observer rather than a participant, and they may act in an aggressive manner or drive too fast when they can’t be seen by others or if they’re likely not going to be around those specific other drivers.

Who Is Most Likely to Speed?

Of course, when we look at the data, we often wonder who is more likely to be driving too fast out on the road. We did some digging, and this is what we found:

  • Men are more likely to speed than women, 35% to 21%, respectively, and the age group with the highest amount of fatal speed-related crashes was 15- to 20-year-olds.
  • Motorcycles are more likely to be involved in a fatal speed-related crash than any other type of vehicle, with 33% of all motorcycles involved in fatal crashes proven to be speeding at the time of the crash.
  • Of the drivers involved in fatal traffic crashes, speeding drivers were more likely to have a previous driving record than non-speeding drivers. This includes a previously recorded crash, speeding conviction, license suspension or revocation, or DWI conviction. An estimated 22% of speeding drivers, compared to 17% of non-speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes, had a driving record.
  • Alcohol plays a big role in speed-related crashes as well. 37% of drivers who were alcohol-impaired (.08+ g/dL) at the time of their fatal crash in 2021 were speeding, while 21% of alcohol-impaired drivers were not speeding at the time of their crash. Data shows that alcohol-impaired drivers aged 35 to 74 were twice as likely (or more) to be speeding at the time of their fatal crash than other age groups.

All roadways have posted speed limits to keep all vehicles and their occupants safe. When drivers choose to break the law and speed, serious car accidents can occur, often leading to disastrous consequences.

If you’ve been involved in a vehicle collision due to a speeding driver, our team at Golden Law Office is here to help. We have experience with all types of car accidents, and it’s free to speak with an attorney at our office.

Golden Law is a local, Kentucky Law Firm, attorneys/lawyers in Fayette County, Kentucky, working in the fields of personal injury, auto accidents, car and truck wrecks; medical malpractice: doctors, hospitals & nursing homes; senior living abuse: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse, dehydration, bedsores, catastrophic injuries, and broken bones. If you are considering a lawsuit, call us at 859.469.5000 for a free consultation. We are located at 771 Corporate Dr. Suite 800/ Lexington, Kentucky 40503. We handle cases all over the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have represented and trained people in major insurance companies & major trucking companies. We have first hand experience and know the ‘inside of the insurance business’ … that’s a distinction that no other law firm can make. We’re Your Advocate. Dale Golden, Laraclay Parker.

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