Elk Grove, Calif. – With traffic deaths linked to speeding at crisis levels and rising, the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) today released a new “Slow the Fast Down” anti-speeding campaign that encourages drivers to follow the speed limit and recognize the dangers of speeding in an effort to reverse the deadly trend.
Initially launched in late 2020, this year’s “Slow the Fast Down” campaign features two new videos on digital platforms and audio messages on radio and streaming services. One emphasizes that all drivers should “follow the limit,” and demonstrates how speeding is the fastest way to a ticket, crash, or even death. In 2020, 1,228 people were killed in speed-related crashes in California, accounting for a third of all traffic deaths in the state. The other message recognizes that while life moves fast and sometimes causes us to be in a rush, drivers should take a minute to slow down and “step off your gas.” Shorter social media videos provide context to the dangers of speeding to pedestrians, where a 10-mph difference doubles the chances of serious injury or death to a person walking when hit by a vehicle.
“Speeding might save a couple minutes on your trip at best, but it costs a lot more in the serious risk to others on the road,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Being in a rush is not an excuse for what can literally be a matter of life or death.”
Billboards throughout the state and digital signs at San Diego transit stops will feature messages that inform drivers “You’re on a freeway. Not a speedway.”, “Know the Limit. Go the Speed Limit,” and “Slow the Fast Down.”
In 2020, the latest statistics available, 11,258 people were killed in speeding-involved crashes throughout the country. This is a 17% increase over 2019 — and early projections for 2021 indicate even more people died in crashes linked to speeding. In addition, there were nearly 7,000 work zone crashes in California in 2020. Speeding accounted for nearly 40% of those crashes.
“Driving too fast for traffic and road conditions increases the risk not only for highway workers, but motorists as well,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “These crashes are preventable. We urge you to do your part and save lives. When approaching a work zone, please slow down, pay attention and move over when you see flashing amber lights ahead.”
So far this year, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has issued more than 300,000 citations statewide as part of its efforts to enforce speed limits.
“The steady increase in the number of people killed in speed-related crashes on California’s roadways is alarming,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray. “The CHP and its traffic safety partners conduct education and enforcement campaigns throughout the year to help address the root cause of these fatal crashes.”
Speeding has become such a problem throughout the country that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is releasing the first of its kind national speed prevention campaign that will run from July 20 to Aug. 14. Called “Speeding Wrecks Lives”, the campaign will complement the OTS and Caltrans initiative, focusing on the dangers and consequences of speeding.
NTHSA will host a campaign kickoff event and news conference July 19 at 10:30 a.m. in Los Angeles. To register and watch the event, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/events/speeding-wrecks-lives.
The OTS and Caltrans campaign runs through the end of July.