NASCAR star joins effort to curb summer speeding

NASCAR drivers may have clocked speeds up to 130 miles per hour in the Loop, but local authorities are asking you to pump the brakes.

Expect to see more police on the roads this month as part of a new campaign to slow drivers down.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NITSA) launched its annual Speeding Catches Up with You Speeding Prevention campaign Monday, reminding drivers that during summer vacation season, drivers should slow down and enjoy the ride.

NITSA data shows that in 2022, speed was still a contributing factor in nearly a third of all traffic deaths, even as the number of speed-related crash fatalities fell slightly compared to the year before.

NITSA's deputy administrator said even advancements in vehicle safety and occupant protection can't keep people completely safe from speeding.

Ross Chastain, a NASCAR driver who competed in Sunday's Chicago Street Race, said racing is for closed courses, not for the open road.

"I know it's kinda funny to have a race car driver standing up here talking about safe driving, talking about slowing down," Chastain said. "We all want to get home and the single best thing we can do is slow down. Yeah, of course I want to get home sooner, but that's not going to get me there any safer."

Speeding reduces a driver's ability to steer around other vehicles or unexpected hazards on the roads and increases the severity of injuries in a crash.

NITSA's speeding prevention campaign runs through the end of July.