Highway safety agency running ads in effort to curb speeding

FILE - California Highway Patrol officer Troy Christensen runs a driver's license after stopping a motorist along Interstate 5 who was suspected of speeding on April 23, 2021, in Anaheim, Calif. The U.S. government's road safety agency said Tuesday, July 19, 2022, that it will spend $8 million on ads aimed at stemming the rising number of traffic deaths caused by speeding. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
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Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — The U.S. government’s road safety agency says it will spend $8 million on ads aimed at stemming the rising number of traffic deaths caused by speeding.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration campaign called “Speeding Wrecks Lives” will run on television, radio and digitally, targeting drivers from ages 18 to 44.

The agency says 11,258 people died in speed-related crashes in 2020, up 17% from 2019 even though there was less traffic on the roads in 2020 because of the pandemic. Speed contributed to 29% of all fatal crashes, with 87% of speed-related deaths happening on local roads, not interstate highways.

The Governors Highway Safety Association, representing state traffic safety offices, says the death trend continued last with speed killing nearly 12,000 people in 2021.

“Speed-related deaths aren’t inevitable,” said Steven Cliff, NHTSA administrator. “They’re preventable, and everyone has a role in addressing this crisis.”

The ads will run in English and Spanish and air from July 20 through Aug. 14.

The agency announced the campaign Tuesday at an event in Los Angeles.

Nearly 43,000 people were killed on U.S. roads last year. That’s the highest number in 16 years as Americans returned to the highways after the pandemic forced many to stay at home.

Traffic deaths rose 10.5% over 2020, the largest percentage increase since the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration began its fatality data collection in 1975.