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The faster you go, the harder you'll hit

Even where it is not identified as the causal factor, speed invariably plays a critical role in the severity of a crash (Kloden et al., 1997, 2001 & Nilsson, 2004).  In fact, the probability of injury and the severity of those injuries increases exponentially (not linearly) with vehicle speed (Liu et al., 2005). For example:

  • travel at 5km/h over the speed limit in a 60km/h zone, you’re twice as likely to have a serious crash

  • travel at 10km/h over in a 60km/h zone, you’re four times as likely to have a serious crash

  • travel at 20km/h over in a 60km/h zone, you’re 32 times as likely to have a serious crash

  • travel 10km/h faster than the average speed of other traffic, you’re twice as likely to have a serious crash (StreetSmarts, 2019).

Small difference, big effect

This means is that seemingly insignificant speeding infractions can result in devastating outcomes, but conversely a small reduction in speed could avoid them.  Data indicates that by decreasing vehicle speeds by 5 km/h on arterial roads with a speed limit of 60 km/h, there would be an 11.9% reduction in all serious crashes. Similarly, reducing vehicle speeds by a further 5 km/h (i.e. by 10 km/hr) would result in a 17.3% reduction in all serious crashes (ATC, 2003).

Image source: https://www.panoramio.com/photo/84474487 Author, Annette Teng

Deterring speeding: Beyond legal sanctions

Research has reported a speed reduction between 3 and 11 kilometres per hour where Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) and Speed Indicator Devices (SID) are deployed (Sandberg et al., 2006; Cruzado & Donnell, 2009; Pesti & McCoy, 2001; Poulter & McKenna, 2005, Walter & Knowles, 2008). Studies have also demonstrated the increased efficacy of SID over VAS on local roads (Jomaa et al., 2017).


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