The issue of speeding in and around the City of St. John’s has gotten a lot of attention. CBC radio did a feature on it yesterday, and Council is considering placing speed bumps in certain areas as an experiment in traffic calming.
Speeding seems intuitively to be a causative factor in road-related accidents and injuries, but in just what manner does it contribute? There is a report from Manitoba which concluded that traffic speed does not cause accidents, rather it contributes to the severity of accidents when they occur. And when you think about it, there are plenty of situations in which a driver may have been speeding, but an accident would not have happened unless another driver or a pedestrian did something they should not have.
The intention is not to defend or endorse speeding, but there are plenty of other driving behaviors which are at least equally, if not more dangerous, such as running red lights, failing to use a turn indicator, or driving while texting. Let’s not lose sight of other driving factors which cause accidents or accident severity while we focus on speeding. Speeding may be an obvious road safety factor to address, and maybe it is the easiest to address – but is it the most important factor?