IIHS says increased speeding, a result of pandemic lockdowns, has become ‘the new normal’

Traffic Safety Pulse News

(Repairer Driven News) A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that speeding increased during the morning and afternoon commuting hours during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.

An analysis of data from 506 speed counters with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) showed that the chances a driver was exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 mph rose a little more than 50% during March-June 2020, when a stay-at-home order was in place, compared with the same period a year earlier, IIHS said.

Federal data collected since then shows that “the increase in speeding and other risky driving behaviors continued throughout 2020 and 2021,” the institute said in announcing the results.

Overall, IIHS said, traffic volumes at the study sites fell by a quarter during Virginia’s lockdown.

IIHS Speeding

“The empty roads probably tempted pandemic-stressed drivers to put the pedal down,” Jessica Cicchino, vice president of research at IIHS, said in a statement. “But information collected since the lockdowns ended and the roads filled back up suggests that risky driving has become the new normal.”

The study, written by Cicchino and Jin Wang, recommends that “future research should continue to identify where and when speeding problems are most severe, and countermeasures should be directed to the roads and time periods with the largest speeding problems.”

Those countermeasures should include “proven solutions that have been shown to prevent speeding,” Cicchino said, “like automated speed enforcement and road designs that slow traffic.”

Other studies have drawn a connection between higher speeds and increased severity, and an increase in the proportion of total loss claims. CCC Intelligent Solutions’ 2022 Crash Report found that speeding, as well as other risky behaviors like alcohol and drug use, “were tied closely to the COVID-19 pandemic and key factors driving increases in motor vehicle fatalities and motor vehicle accident severity over the past two years.” To read the full article, click here