Operation Safe Driver Week is once again in sight. Like last year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is putting a hefty focus on speeding, and with all of the data regarding speeding, it is easy to see why.
The coronavirus pandemic has killed people in more ways than just the disease itself. Aside from alcohol poisoning and suicides, another fallout of the pandemic is the lack of cars on the road. This sounds great on paper, but this goes beyond simple rush hour congestion. With fewer vehicles on the road, drivers that are on the road are taking more risks, so in a way a small amount of traffic is healthy for the roadways by keeping drivers cautious.
Speeding is dangerous because when a driver crashes, their vehicle is hit with the same kinetic energy it is traveling with for it to stop. The formula for kinetic energy reads as
KE = 1/2mv2
The accurate formula follows the metric system, with kilograms and meters per second, but what you need to realize is that each unit of speed you gain increases the kinetic energy more than the last. Going from 59 MPH to 60 MPH is an increase of energy equal to going from a standstill to 11 MPH.
Here is a graph to help illustrate the relative danger of a collision at varying speeds.
This multiplier assumes that the mass of the vehicle is constant; the multiplier goes up even further when considering an 80,000-pound truck compared to a 2,500-pound Honda Civic!
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has updated their numbers for speeding-related fatalities in 2018 from 10,000 to 9,378, which is still about 25 people per day. Despite the reduced numbers of total drivers on the road, 2020 statistics are predicted to be even higher than that.
The best thing you can do, not just for Operation Safe Driver Week, but in general, is to slow down. If you need to get more work done and goods delivered, it may make more sense in the long-term to have two trucks go 50 MPH rather than one going 60 MPH. Your fuel efficiency, vehicle wear-and-tear, insurance, and traffic violations will thank you.