MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabamians need to pump the brakes after a national research firm says the state ranks third in the country in relation to speeding-related vehicle fatalities.
Backers of the survey, conducted by ValuePenguin, say they came to their conclusion based on federal data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and driver habits. The numbers were then adjusted based on state populations.
The study found that there are 6.52 speeding-related deaths per 100,000 residents in Alabama. In 2016 the state saw 317 such deaths.
Alabama Law Enforcement Agency State Trooper Sgt. Steve Jarrett has not seen the study but says the results don't surprise him based on more than 20 years patrolling the roads as a state trooper. He's heard all the excuses of why people were speeding: going to the bathroom, late for work, late for church.
"What bothers me is people just don't understand why we're out here doing what we do," said Jarrett.
What the study didn't answer was why many drivers aren't recognizing the potential dangers of speeding.
"And that's the million dollar question because if someone knew why a certain state is having an x number of speeding-related fatalities over another we wouldn't have this issue, but maybe having certain legislation, higher fines, or having a certain culture," said ValuePenguin's Joe Resendiz, who authored the study.
Jarrett has seen first hand how speed can change and destroy so many lives in a matter of seconds.
"I've seen so many people lose their lives in my 22 years," he said. "It's more than I care to see. I've given countless death notifications."
South Carolina tops the list as the deadliest state for speeding with 7.68 death per 100K followed by New Mexico at 6.97 deaths per 100K.
New Jersey was at the bottom of the list with a rate of 1.45 deaths per 100K.
Regardless of where Alabama ranks, the message is the same everywhere: Slow down!
Here's a map of states from safest to deadliest when it comes to speeding-related fatalities. (Source: ValuePenguin)
Compounding the speeding issue is a major trooper shortage in Alabama.
The state has 342 troopers on the road for the entire state. The ideal amount should be close to 750, according to Alabama Department of Public Safety officials. However, Governor Ivey and the legislature did provide money for two trooper classes later this year.