The following is a news release from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission:
BATON ROUGE —With the heavy summer travel season in full swing, Louisiana highway safety officials are warning drivers that speeding is a leading factor in vehicle crashes that result in deaths and injuries.
"Many Louisiana families drive to beaches and other vacation spots around this time of year, making summer one of the most heavily traveled periods," said Lt. Col. John LeBlanc, executive director of the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission. "Speeding, along with driving while intoxicated and not buckling up, are among the top causes of fatal crashes. Engaging in any one of these risky behaviors can result in tragic consequences."
A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about one-third of all deaths that occurred in motor vehicle crashes nationwide were speeding-related. The study also found that many fatal crashes involved both speeding and an impaired driver.
A significant majority of Louisiana residents believes that speeding is dangerous, yet many of those same people acknowledge frequently exceeding the speed limits when they drive, especially on interstate highways.
In a 2008 survey conducted for the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission, 66 percent of respondents said speeding drivers pose "a lot" of danger and 26 percent said they pose "some" danger to safety. In that same survey, 76 percent of respondents said they believe other drivers exceed speed limits on interstate highways "all" or "most" of the time. Only 27 percent of the survey respondents said they "never" exceed the speed limit while driving on an interstate highway. The two most frequent reasons people cited for speeding is because they "were not paying attention" to their speed or they didn't "want to be late."
"It's clear that too many people exceed the speed limit, especially on interstate highways, even though they recognize that speeding is dangerous," LeBlanc said. "The Louisiana Highway Safety Commission is working to convince drivers, regardless of the reason they speed, it's not worth the risk."
More than 700 people were killed in highway crashes in Louisiana last year. Researchers at the Louisiana State University Highway Safety Research Group estimate that 51 percent of driver fatalities in Louisiana involved "aggressive driving," a category that includes speeding.