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Speeding is the greatest indicator of crash risk, researchers say

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Waterloo, Ontario — Do you have a heavy foot? Speeding is the strongest predictor of vehicle crashes, according to researchers from the University of Waterloo.

The researchers first looked at telematics data from on-board vehicle devices for 28 million trips in Ontario and Texas. They then examined the links between crashes and four risky driving behaviors: speeding, hard acceleration, hard braking and hard cornering.

They identified 28 crashes, based on rapid deceleration and other indicators, and matched them with 20 “control vehicles” – those not involved in crashes but similar in other ways, including geographic locations and driving distances.

The researchers analyzed the two groups using a “penalty system” for the four risky driving behaviors. Speeding was the key difference, while the others didn’t have statistically significant links.

“Having this information exposed and understood allows people to wrap their minds around their true risks and improve their driving behaviors,” Allaa Hilal, study co-author and adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering, said in an Aug. 21 press release.

The study was published in the October issue of the journal Accident Analysis & Prevention.

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