Debunking the myth that speeding will get you there faster


Have you ever been tempted to speed because you think it will get you to your destination faster?

One BC employer has some surprising findings that prove speeding doesn’t save the time we think it does.

Cheryl Spencer, Unit Chief for BC Ambulance Services in the Terrace area, requires drivers to record and track departure and arrival times when they respond to calls.

When paramedics drive with lights blaring, sirens flashing and motorists moving over, they often drive at speeds considerably higher than posted speed limits to get to an incident scene as fast as possible.

However, when the emergency turns out to be non-life-threatening, and the ambulance returns to home base or hospital at normal speeds, Cheryl says the time difference is surprisingly small. "On average, the difference is usually only a couple of minutes."

If speeding above posted speed limits has little impact on how quickly trained professionals can get to a destination in emergency situations, it should come as no surprise that it won’t improve arrival times for the rest of us either.

In addition, considering that very few drivers get the driver training that paramedics do, the risk associated with speeding to make that next delivery or be on time for that next appointment is significant. ICBC reports that, on average, speeding causes or contributes to the deaths of 105 British Columbians each year.1

And many people do not know that motor vehicle incidents are the leading cause of traumatic worker deaths in B.C. each year.2

"Even in emergencies, speeding doesn't save as much time as we would hope. So, when you think about everyday driving and the hazards of speeding along with the possible consequences of a crash - which, unfortunately, we see almost every day - speeding just doesn't make sense,” says Cheryl.

Tips to better manage driving worker safety

Instead of having your workers rush to make schedules work, change your approach to work-related driving.

Can some or all of company work be accomplished by phone, e-mail or by videoconferencing? (In many circumstances, the answer is no, but this question should always be asked first.) If driving is required, here are some tips to help keep your workers safe:

  1. Use TripCheck to help manage the journeys you and your employees make.
  2. Instruct your workers to make realistic driving plans that allow extra time for incidents, traffic volumes or weather conditions. Check out this new video on journey management planning for ideas to reduce work-related driving risks at your organization.
  3. Direct your workers to comply with the posted speed limit and other traffic laws. In addition, workers must never drive at a speed that is excessive relative to the road, traffic, visibility or weather conditions.
  4. If you operate commercial vehicles, follow your safety obligations as a carrier.

Remember — speeding offers no time advantage, and only serves to increase the risk of a potentially serious or fatal crash involving your worker or another road user.

1 ICBC - Quick Statistics, February 2016

2 WorkSafeBC

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Debunking the myth that speeding will get you there faster