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Speeding is riskiest form of aggressive driving: Waterloo study

A University of Waterloo sign.
A University of Waterloo sign. Ahmad Fareed Khan / Global News

A new study from the University of Waterloo says that speeding is the riskiest form of aggressive driving.

The study used data from insurance companies in Ontario and Texas to examine links between collisions and four bad driving behaviours: speeding, hard braking, hard acceleration and hard cornering.

“For insurance companies using this telematics data to assess who is a good risk and who isn’t, our suggestion based on the data is to look at speed, at people driving too fast,” Stefan Steiner, a statistics professor in Waterloo’s faculty of mathematics, said in a release.

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Over 28 million trips were considered in the study, which showed that speed was a strong predictor of crashes.

Researchers compared data from 28 crashes with that of 20 control vehicles that had not been in collisions but were similar in terms of other characteristics, including geographic location and driving distance.

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“Some of the results are no surprise, but prior to this we had a whole industry based on intuition,” said Allaa (Ella) Hilal, an adjunct professor of electrical and computer engineering. “Now it is formulated — we know aggressive driving has an impact.

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The researchers believe that this could change the way insurance companies charge clients, causing drivers to slow down. Awareness of the risks of speeding could also make roads safer.

“Having this information exposed and understood allows people to wrap their minds around their true risks and improve their driving behaviours,” she said. “We are super pumped about its potential.”