Bruce Murphy
Murphy’s Law

Wisconsin Has a Speeding Problem

More speeding related fatalities than 32 states. And Milwaukee is 10th worst county in US.

By - Jun 23rd, 2020 12:58 pm
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Interstate 794 Off Ramp. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Interstate 794 Off Ramp. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

In pandemic-era America there are fewer cars on the road, but a higher percentage of them are speeding.

“State highway safety officials across the country are seeing a severe spike in speeding. Many states have reported alarming speed increases, with some noting a significant surge in vehicles clocked at 100 mph or more,” notes a news release by the Governors Highway Safety Association.

And speeding has long been a key cause of auto fatalities. Speeding is responsible for more than a quarter of all traffic fatalities in the nation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

With that in mind, the website Copilot has done an analysis of the states and counties in the U.S. which have the most speeding related traffic fatalities, and Wisconsin ranks as 17th worst, with more speeding-related fatalities than 32 states.

The report found New Hampshire ranked as the most speed-crazy state in America, where 52 percent of traffic fatalities involved speeding, versus 27 percent for the nation, and with a speeding-related traffic fatality rate of 4.56 per 100,000 people, versus 2.97 per 100,000 people for the nation.

The safest state in this analysis? Florida, where just 10 percent of all traffic fatalities are speed related and the speeding-related traffic fatality rate is just 1.39 per 100,000 people. Hm, maybe it wasn’t my imagination on a visit to Florida that all those senior citizens seemed to drive slowly.

Compared to New Hampshire, Wisconsin looks far safer, though much worse than the nation, with 31.7 percent of traffic fatalities involving speeding and 3.14 traffic fatalities per 100,000 people. And by far the most dangerous part of Wisconsin is Milwaukee County, where 48.3 percent of all traffic fatalities are speed-related. Milwaukee ranked as the 10th-worst of 3,141 counties in the entire United States.

Indeed, some the worst counties in the nation are highly urban areas like eighth-worst Washington, D.C., where 49.6 percent of traffic fatalities are speed-related, or 13th worst St. Louis City, with 47.5 percent of traffic fatalities being speed related.

And Wisconsin’s 17th place ranking was far worse than western states with wide open country and really high speed limits, compared to the 70 mile per hour limit in Wisconsin. In 49th ranked Nebraska, with a 75 mph speed limit, only 16.4 percent of traffic fatalities are speed related and in 42nd place Idaho, with an 80 mph speed limit, just 21.7. percent of traffic fatalities are speed related.

Why does Wisconsin rate as high as it does? The likely explanation is drunken driving. “Data shows that over the past five years, 47 percent of all speed-related deaths involved a driver with a positive blood alcohol content,” the report notes. And Wisconsin ranks as the fifth worst state for drunken driving.

The data for Copilot’s report was taken from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and used numbers averaged from a five-year period, 2014-2018. Over that period, Wisconsin had 2,880 traffic fatalities, of which 913 were speed related.

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One thought on “Murphy’s Law: Wisconsin Has a Speeding Problem”

  1. Colin Wilks says:

    “47 percent of all speed-related deaths involved a driver with a positive blood alcohol content”

    Seems like drinking is a much larger issue than high speeds.

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