Winters in Massachusetts create hazardous road conditions that lead to accidents. However, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that the highest rates of fatal crashes that involve speeding occur over the summer, especially the big holiday weekends. The clear roads and sunny weather apparently entice more people to drive faster and thereby cause more deadly accidents.
Speeding top cause of fatal vehicle accidents
The NHTSA tracks transportation accidents and collects data about the time of day and year, driver gender, and vehicle types on top of trying to identify the cause of every crash. Speeding consistently emerges as the leading contributor to motor vehicle accidents that result in death.
Summer holiday weekends
Despite the travel surges associated with Thanksgiving and other winter holidays, the most fatal traffic crashes occur during May through September. During this season, people tend to drive more in the regions around their homes to visit lakes, attend parties or go to local outdoor tourist attractions.
According to NHTSA data, the agency consistently records a sharp increase in fatal crashes starting in May due to the Memorial Day Weekend. Travel for the Fourth of July and Labor Day appears to keep the rate of deadly accidents high. Once fall starts in October, the number of traffic fatalities related to speeding drops.
Rising risk of speeding
The NHTSA has reported an increase in speeding-related traffic deaths for three consecutive years. The correlation between excess speed and death has never been clearer. This three-year surge continues the longer-term trend of more fatalities that started in 2012. Speeding-related deaths increased 19.2% during the previous decade, which coincided with increases in freeway speed limits in many locations.