Americans enjoy an accelerated pace of life today that’s dizzying by past standards. We read constantly updated global news online, and we buy electronics, home furnishings, cars – virtually everything and anything – with a tap or two on phones and laptops. Our need for speed extends into the physical world as well.
People are driving faster than ever, always trying to edge each other out to stoplights and to get to the interstate exit before anyone else. But our hunger for velocity has a price: motor vehicle crashes at high speeds have higher rates of serious injuries and fatalities, as the data from North Carolina and the nation shows.
A recent news article pointed out that there were 18,956 speed-related wrecks in North Carolina three years ago, with 369 of the crashes involving fatalities. Excess speed was a contributing in one-quarter of all fatal crashes in 2016.
A North Carolina State Highway Patrol trooper said, “Speeding is one of our major contributing factors to collisions. It’s one of the things we take very seriously, and it’s one of the major offenses that we monitor on the roadway.”
Back in 1993, the maximum speed limit in most states was 65 mph. In 2019, speed limits are at 70 mph and above in 41 states. Six states are up to 80 mph, with Texas allowing drivers to go 85 mph on some roads. (Our state’s max speed is 70 mph.)
The North Carolina Department of Transportation says that speed reduces your ability to safely navigate curving roads, stretches out the time it takes to bring your vehicle to a stop and increases risks of wrecks and injuries.
Unfortunately, speeding isn’t limited to a few reckless drivers. A survey by AAA two years ago found that half of drivers admitted they had exceeded a freeway speed limit by 15 mph in the past month and nearly half confessed to going over a residential street limit by 10 mph.
We urge our readers to observe the posted speed limits on the interstates and streets of Wilson – even if it means you will arrive a few seconds later.