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Speeding cars are still most likely to get themselves in traffic accidents

Posted August 22, 2019

Texting, talking on the phone, falling asleep – there are many dangerous things that you might do behind the wheel. However, one of them is much more likely to cause a crash and that’s speeding – the deadliest sin in the motoring world. This was determined by scientists at the University of Waterloo, who analyzed the likelihood of causing an accident when speeding, hard braking, hard acceleration and hard cornering.

Speeding is one of the deadliest driving sins. Image credit: WClarke via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Scientists examined data from 28 million trips, trying to see which part of the reckless driving seems to be the most dangerous. Interestingly, researchers did not find a link between ard braking, hard acceleration and hard cornering and the risk of crashing. This is not to say that these kind of actions are safe – they should still be avoided. But speeding seems to be the best indicator of the crash to come. This information is not just good for drivers who need to correct their behaviour, but also for insurance companies.

Researchers also analyzed 28 crashes, trying to see which factors are the most likely to cause an accident. And one emerged all the time – speeding. Insurance companies could use this telematics data in order to accurately assess which drivers are more likely to cause an accident. However, insurance companies are not even surprised by these results – speeding is known to significantly  increase the risk of a traffic accident. This study also shows how using telematics data could lead to more personalized, custom insurance solutions that would allow saving money and time. Insurance companies could provide this information to drivers, encouraging them to change their behaviour, or create financial incentives (such as discounts) for those drivers who don’t break the speed limit.

Most drivers, however, speed regularly. In many parts of the world it is pretty much a social norm. This kind of behaviour leads to crashes, which are often fatal or leave people with heavy injuries. Insurance companies deal with that kind of irresponsibility all the time. Allaa Hilal, one of the scientists behind the study, said: “Some of the results are no surprise, but prior to this we had a whole industry based on intuition. Now it is formulated – we know aggressive driving has an impact”. However, tracking driver’s behaviour is both costly and problematic.

We want more freedom, not less. It is not good if companies are able to tell where we are at any given time.  So we will have to see if driving data can be collected without breaching people’s privacy.


Source: University of Waterloo

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