Traffic Tip Tuesday: Speeding, what’s the big deal?

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Speeding, “It’s just 10 over, what’s the big deal?” This is one question we hear all the time. Simply put, speeding kills.

Let’s look at this from a scientific point of view. In this example, we will consider a residential area with a speed limit of 25 mph.

Given the example of 10 mph over, this puts the vehicle speed at 35 mph. A vehicle going 35 mph is traveling 51 feet per second. That doesn’t sound very fast, but if we consider the average perception/reaction time of 1.6 seconds, that means a vehicle will travel just over 82 feet before the brakes are engaged and start to slow the vehicle.

So what does this mean? If we consider the braking distance at 35 mph on a given surface is approximately 58 feet, and we will travel 82 feet before we can even push the brake, our total distance to bring our vehicle to a safe stop, without hitting anything, is 140 feet.

Given the same values, but an initial speed of 25 mph or 37 feet per second, the perception/reaction distance is 59 feet. This combined with the stopping distance at 25 mph of 30 feet, our total distance is 89 feet.

The 10 mph difference in this example is a distance of 51 feet. This could be the difference between striking a vehicle, animal or a person and stopping safely without incident. As you can tell from this example, speeding at “just 10 over” can be devastating, which is why the Farmington Police Department is very active in traffic enforcement.   FPD’s enforcement operations are about keeping you and your family safe. Also, many of our DWI arrests are a result of stops for “just 10 over.”

So yes, “just 10 over” is a big deal. Think about this next time you are tempted to drive “just 10 over.” Is it worth the risk to you and everyone else? We don’t think so.

Below are statistics on speeding-related traffic crashes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additional statistics are available at

  • In 2005, more than 13,000 lives were lost across America in speeding-related traffic crashes.
  • In 2005, speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes nationally.
  • Nationally in 2005, 86 percent of all speeding-related traffic fatalities occurred on non-Interstate roadways — where the posted speed limits were 55 miles per hour or lower. Only 14 percent of the nation’s speeding-related fatalities occurred on interstate highways that year.

Slow down and save a life, it might just be yours.

Snowbarger, MartinMartin Snowbarger has been a law enforcement officer for 18 years. He’s worked for the Farmington Police Department for 15 years and in Raton, NM for three years. Officer Snowbarger has been with FPD’s Traffic Division since 2003 and has been a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and Traffic Collision Reconstructionist for 11 years.