Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Speed Limits

Setting speed limits has traditionally been the responsibility of states, except for the period of 1973-1994. During that time, the federal government enacted mandatory speed limit ceilings on interstate highways and similar limited access roads through a National Maximum Speed Limit.

Congress repealed the National Maximum Speed Limit in 1995. Since then, 41 states have raised speed limits to 70 mph or higher on some portion of their roadway systems.

In many states, maximum speeds vary depending on vehicle type (car or truck), roadway location (urban or rural), or time of day. GHSA tracks state maximum speed limits for both urban and rural interstates, as well as other limited access roads.

In a few states, speed limits are not set by law.

Aggressive Driving

The term aggressive driving covers a range of unsafe driver behaviors. State laws define what constitutes aggressive driving and stipulate the related fines and penalties. Often, a driver must demonstrate more than one action to be considered aggressive.

To date, 15 states have addressed aggressive driving in their legislatures.

11 states have passed laws specifically defining aggressive driving actions.

  • California and Utah have amended existing reckless driving laws to include actions similar to those defined as "aggressive" by other states.
  • Pennsylvania has passed a resolution against aggressive driving.
  • New Jersey enforces agressive driving under existing laws.

NOTE: GHSA does not compile any additional data on speed limit or aggressive driving laws other than what is presented here. For more information, consult the appropriate State Highway Safety Office.

Sources: National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and State Highway Safety Offices.

Short Term Description
GHSA tracks speed limits for both urban and rural interstates, as well as other limited access roads. In addition, GHSA tracks state aggressive driving laws, which cover a range of unsafe driver behaviors.

Speeding Plays an Even Bigger Role in Traffic Deaths Than We Thought, Say Feds

A new report from the National Transportation Safety Board highlights the severity and frequency of speeding as a traffic safety issue. GHSA Director of Government Relations Russ Martin discusses the importance of education and enforcement campaigns to deter speeding.

Speeding Plays an Even Bigger Role in Traffic Deaths Than We Thought, Say Feds

August 14, 2017
Article by Dan Vock

New highway safety campaign decreases deaths by over 50 percent

In July, five Southern states collaborated on Operation Southern Shield, a high visibility enforcement campaign targeting speeding. GHSA Board Member Bill Whatley of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs discusses the campaign's success.

New highway safety campaign decreases deaths by over 50 percent

August 8, 2017
Article by Rowland Sauls

Speeding: It's Just As Dangerous As Driving Drunk, New Report Finds

A recent study by the National Transportation Safety Board highlighted the danger and significance of the issue of speeding on our roadways. This article cites GHSA's statement on the NTSB study, calling for more attention to be paid to this issue.

Speeding: It's Just As Dangerous As Driving Drunk, New Report Finds

July 30, 2017
Article by Tanya Mohn

Operation Southern Shield: Week long speed enforcement initiative goes into effect July 17

Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Tennessee are teaming up to deter speeding with an "Operation Southern Shield" enforcement period July 17-23. GHSA Vice Chair and Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood discusses the Operation and the issue prompting it.

Operation Southern Shield: Week long speed enforcement initiative goes into effect July 17

July 10, 2017
Story by Kim Gusby

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