Age of Traffic Speeders essay

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Age of Traffic Speeders

General Problem Area

This research proposal is designed to find out the relationship between speeding in a motor vehicle, and the age of the speeder. There are many variables that make up the sum total of a traffic accident, and one of those is whether or not any or all of the vehicles were speeding at the time the accident occurred (Vinluan, 2008). The proposal here will not focus on accidents, however, or even tickets, specifically. The goal is only to determine whether a person speeds and what that person's age is, not to examine the consequences or potential consequences of that action. While these can be important for those who speed in that they can be putting themselves and others at risk, the study here is not focused on what may result from the behavior, only if the behavior occurs and in what age group it most commonly takes place. From that knowledge, however, further conclusions regarding how to reduce that behavior can be drawn and can be valuable for other studies in the future.

Past research indicates that speeding is a serious cause of many traffic accidents each year (Actual, 2004; Engineering, 2014; Elvik, 2012). That is true in the United States, which is the main focus area of this study, but also true in other countries (Marvel, 2010). In other words, speeding is not a problem that is tied to only one country, city, region, or even area of the world. It is also not specifically tied to only one group or type of people in the sense that they are the only ones who speed and others do not engage in that behavior at all. While there are speeders in nearly every group one can think of if that group is capable of driving a motor vehicle, there are groups that are more likely to have higher number of speeders than others (Special, 1998; Vinluan, 2008). Studies in the past have shown that many people in younger age groups report more speeding behavior than people in older groups (Actual, 2004; Engineering, 2014; Elvik, 2012). This would indicate that the level of speeding drops as a person ages (Engineering, 2014; Vinluan, 2008).

Whether this means the person stops speeding, though, or simply reduces the frequency of the behavior, is not abundantly clear from past research. There is also the consideration that some people may not consider themselves speeding until they are a certain number of miles per hour over the posted limit, or they may feel speeding does not count when they are in specific situations (late at night, wide open interstate, emergency, etc.) (Elvik, 2012). The types of "zones" people find themselves in also affect whether they will speed and whether they consider that behavior acceptable (Actual, 2004; Marvel, 2010; Vinluan, 2008) Those who find different ways to justify their speeding behaviors generally have all types of different reasons for this justification (Elvik, 2012).

While these are important to consider when looking at human behavior and psychology, they are not relevant for this study. The goal here is not to determine why people speed, or when/if they think it is acceptable to do so. Instead, the goal here is to focus on the behavior itself and whether it is taking place. Past research indicates that speeding is something that quite easily and often takes place, and that those who speed come from all sorts of demographics (Actual, 2004; Vinluan, 2008). However, that does not mean that those who speed the most often or at the fastest speeds do not fall into specific groups or age ranges (Actual, 2004; Engineering, 2014). The researcher will attempt to determine this information from a random sample of individuals within the community.

In order to determine whether speeders are a problem, a number of studies have focused on the consequences of the speeding (Elvik, 2012; Marvel, 2010). In other words, these studies look at accidents and tickets in order to have a better idea of what kinds of problems speeding is causing (Vinluan, 2008). The difficulty with addressing the issue that way, however, is that those studies were not able to take into account the fact that speeding was not the cause of all of the accidents and that not everyone who speeds gets a ticket (Engineering, 2014; Elvik, 2012; Vinluan, 2008). With that in mind, the speeding that goes unnoticed and the accidents where speeding was not the issue became part of the data or were not able to be a part of the data. Essentially, that threw nearly everything off and made it much more difficult for researchers to adequately determine whether speeding was a true problem and how that related to the age of the people operating the vehicles.


The concept here is relatively simple. The researcher intends to look at speeding as a behavior and the age of the people who do it. The goal will be to determine whether a person who speeds most typically falls into a particular age group, or whether that person can come from any age group, making age a non-factor for speeding behavior. Therefore, the goal of the proposal and paper will be to link the concept of speeding behavior with the concept of being a particular age or in a particular age group. This is worth careful consideration, because a determination that a particular age group or range causes most of the issues with speeding could translate into a number of educational and informational programs in an attempt to reduce the speeding behaviors.

The concepts have to be adequately defined in order to be researched. Here, age will be looked at both as a number assigned to an individual (age 16, 42, etc.), and also as a range (age 16-19, 20-24, etc.). By addressing the age in two different ways, the researcher will be able to determine whether people in a particular age range are most likely to speed. Additionally, the researcher will be able to discover if there is a particular age within that range that is most commonly seen when speeding has occurred. Speeding will be defined as exceeding the posted speed limit by more than five miles per hour.

The reasoning behind this is that there are too many variables at play to consider one or two miles per hour over the posted limit as "speeding." Car speedometers are not all accurate, and they can vary by a mile or two in either direction (Actual, 2004). However, once a person exceeds five miles per hour over the posted speed limit, he or she knows that speeding is occurring. The goal is not to examine the issues that cause speeding or the consequences it can present, but to only examine the behavior itself, as defined here, and as it correlates to the age of the driver of the motor vehicle at the time the speeding occurred.


In order to measure this behavior, there are several things that can be done. The researcher has chosen to survey participants for this project. Age can be easily measured, as the person will be asked to provide his or her age and date of birth. The researcher will use the person's actual age as one data point, but will also be placing that person's age into a range, in order to determine whether there are specific age ranges in which people are more likely to speed. The first range will be from the legal driving age of 16 through age 19. From that point, each range will be inclusive of 10 years. In other words, the ranges will be from 20 to 29, from 30 to 39, etc.

The speeding behavior will be measured by asking people to complete a survey about their driving habits. This survey will ask questions about tickets and accidents, but also about how often they speed, where and when they are most likely to speed, whether they consider it "illegal," and how their driving behaviors have or have not changed with age. That will allow the researcher to examine their overall driving behaviors and how much they indicate that they speed. While it would be more factual to base the speeding off of tickets and accident reports, there are many accidents that take place where speeding is not a factor, and many speeders who are not caught and ticketed. These would not be true representations of whether a person was a speeder or not.


Every research project needs to answer research questions or work to validate or invalidate a hypothesis regarding the variables studied. The specific hypothesis this researcher intends to examine is:

More people between the ages of 16 and 29 years speed than people in older age groups, and the number of speeders diminishes as the age of the group rises, so that people who are 16 will be seen to speed more frequently than those who are 17, and that correlation will continue through age 29, after…[continue]

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