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New report shows moderate increases in speed can lead to deadly consequences

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Posted at 1:13 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 16:52:08-05

We've all been in a hurry behind the wheel, looking to save a few minutes by going just a little faster than we should. Now, new crash test video shows just how dangerous that can be.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the American Automobile Association (AAA) demonstrated what happens when a small SUV crashes at 40, 50 and 56 miles per hour.

At 40, the driver’s space stays pretty well protected.

At 50, you can really see the difference. The driver’s side door opening, dashboard and foot area all are compromised.

But just 6 miles an hour faster than that, the driver’s area is significantly impacted with severe neck injuries and bone fractures likely.

“So, we did these tests, because speed continues to be one of the major problems that we have when you look at us traffic fatalities,” said David Harkey, President of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS president says speed is a factor in more than 25% of traffic deaths and there's been little progress in improving that over the last decade.

Data showed speeding became even more of a problem at the start of the pandemic.

While newer cars do come with additional safety features to prevent crashes, they still perform about the same in crash tests as the model vehicle used in these simulations.

In fact, it was chosen because it's one of the vehicles that tested well in safety and it represents the average age vehicle on the road.

Forty miles per hour represents about 80% of U.S. crashes.

“Saving a few minutes on a trip is not worth the increased risk of potentially being involved in a crash and potentially being entered in a crash, and so it really pays to slow down and save a life,” said Harkey.

The institute recognizes getting people to slow down is a collaborative effort, from car makers to road engineers, policy makers and even insurance companies.

By the way, there are some insurance discounts offered for maintaining safe speeds.

Meanwhile, NerdWallet found just a speeding ticket, not even a crash, can raise your rates by as much as 25%.