Speeding Collisions “Much More Deadly Than Other Collisions”

Chicago Traffic Safety Performance, pedestrian injuries & fatalities 2005-2012
Speeding car crashes are more likely to kill and severely injure pedestrians than all other types of crashes.

Washington, DC, has the same “vision zero” goal to eliminate traffic deaths as Chicago. In this new public service announcement, DC police chief Cathy Lanier says, “High speed collisions are much more deadly than other collisions.” Exactly. When you compare the severity of injuries that pedestrians suffer in speeding-related crashes to non-speeding crashes, you see what Lanier is talking about.

In Chicago, when excessive speed is the primary cause of a crash involving a pedestrian, less than 1.5 percent of victims walk away without an injury. Of the 346 pedestrians hit by cars in speeding crashes from 2005-2012 in Chicago, 31 people, or almost nine percent, were killed. While a far greater number of pedestrians were involved in crashes where the primary cause wasn’t speeding, only 1.2 percent of them were killed. Speeding crashes are rarer than other types of crashes, but deadlier and more injurious.

These stats, contrary to the belief of at least one Streetsblog commenter, aren’t made up. The evidence that speeding kills is overwhelming. Chicago’s automated enforcement system is reducing the incidence of speeding, which will prevent severe injuries and deaths.

Cathy Lanier could testify to the life-saving effectiveness of automated enforcement. DC has seen traffic deaths plummet 76 percent since 2001 [PDF], thanks in part to an extensive automated enforcement system that includes more than 130 cameras in a city with one-quarter the population of Chicago.

One of our commenters summarized this issue, in response to a recent pedestrian fatality, saying “The penalty for jaywalking shouldn’t be death.” Reducing death and injuries to people out walking will encourage more walking — to work, to school, to the store down the street. That’s why the city’s 40 speed cameras – which will eventually rise to 300 – focus their lenses on speeding drivers, while Chicago police focus on reducing neighborhood crime.

  • Brian

    Making traffic stops reduces neighborhood crimes and gets bad drivers off the road. Cameras don’t do that.
    Maybe one day you’ll grow up and have real responsibilities and actually realize that bigger government isn’t better and is all about raping tax payers. Until then- watch out for those speeding cars!

  • Let’s lay off the personal attacks please. Please refer to Streetsblog’s comment moderation policy if you need a refresher: http://chi.streetsblog.org/about/comment-moderation-policy/ Future comments that make personal attacks will be deleted. Thanks.

  • Do you want to meet up for coffee next week and talk about speed cameras?

  • Pete

    If anyone thinks speed cameras are for safety, please post your email address so I can get you a great deal on my oceanfront property in Kansas. As for the possibility of eliminating traffic deaths in a metro area completely: get real. As long as we have transportation, we will have transportation-related deaths. Even in the horse and buggy days people got killed.

  • Brian

    Sure- but I don’t drink coffee

  • Fibinaccignocchi

    And uh, what’s the plan for effecting all these traffic stops given the current limited number of officers and resources?

    Where are all these officers going to come from? How are we going to pay for them?

    I’m sure you’re going to be totally amenable to raising taxes to pay for them right? And while we’re at it, aren’t these officers the enforcement arm of the same big bad government you’re so convinced you’re getting “raped” by? Or are they only supposed to pull the “right” people over in the “right” neighborhoods? (wink-wink) In the meantime all those regular folks getting run over and killed by speeding drivers while crossing with the light in the crosswalk can just get stuffed right?

    Of course the minute it’s someone you care about who gets injured by a speeding driver it’s going to be that same government that you’ll turn to to “fix” the problem, who you’ll be condemning for having “allowed” it to happen, but of course then it’ll be too late.

  • Fibinaccignocchi

    Because goodness knows, no traffic enforcement that utilizes a fine structure to dissuade noncompliance has ever been about safety. Nooooooo.

    If it was really about safety, we’d just lock people up right? I mean that seems reasonable. Providing a financial disincentive to things like speeding, violating fire codes, camping out in a metered parking spot beyond the allotted time, dumping garbage illegally and on and on as a civil means of encouraging a society to police itself is just silly.

  • Brian

    How many people are being run over and killed by speeding drives while crossing with the light?

  • Fibinaccignocchi

    From the Chicago Pedestrian Crash Analyisis, 2011:

    “ The most common pedestrian action at the time of a crash was “crossing with the signal”; pedestrians crossing with the signal was more common in the CBD [Central Business District] than outside.”


  • Brian

    What personal attack?

  • BlueFairlane

    Maybe one day you’ll grow up and have real responsibilities …

  • Brian

    Can anyone post a link from the city of Chicago website showing the locations of the speed cameras, as required by law. I’ve searched high and low but can’t find anything. Plenty of propaganda and lies, but no actual locations. Thanks

  • CL
  • Brian

    That’s al I could find too. There neds to be a list, as required by law. Next call, Chicago Tribune, so they can investigate.


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