Perspective Newsletter

PEMCO Poll reveals a need for speed

fast car in tunnel

​​​Despite our traffic-choked highways, Northwest drivers report they're speeding 15% more than they did just six years ago. Most believe officers have a "ticket-worthy buffer" of 5 mph over the limit before they'll actually write a citation.

That's a surprise finding in the latest PEMCO Poll, which tallied responses from 1,200 drivers split evenly between Washington and Oregon.

  • Two out of three drivers admit to speeding at least sometimes.
  • Most – 72% – blame their lead-footedness on keeping up with the flow of traffic. Another 21% say they speed because they aren't paying attention.
  • Believers in the "ticket-worthy buffer" have jumped from half of drivers in 2011 to two-thirds today.
  • Twice as many drivers favor hiking rural freeway speed limits to 75 mph compared to those who oppose faster speeds. 

Findings like that worry safety experts. Raising speed limits has deadly consequences, according to an Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) study. It found that speed limit increases caused 33,000 deaths in the U.S. over two decades. While higher speeds have led to more fatalities, IIHS also reports that maximum speed limits set by states have been on the rise since 1995.

See detailed responses on our PEMCO Poll page.

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