Is speeding a sin and should I confess it?

Question: I often drive 5 MPH over the posted speed limit. Is this sinful and should I confess it?

When you get behind the wheel of a car, you have a lethal weapon in your hands. This awesome responsibility means that you must always drive with the utmost care and attention, both to the rules of the road and to your particular surroundings. If your excessive speed is reckless, then you carelessly endanger your life and the lives of others. This violates the Fifth Commandment, which says you shall not kill, and Jesus’ great commandment, to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Driving a little over the speed limit may sometimes appear quite safe. Many states have a version of the basic rule, which requires that you drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent at all times. Nevertheless, traffic authorities caution that this rule does not allow you to exceed the posted speed limit. Here the Fourth Commandment, which directs us to respect legitimate authority, is instructive. Careless disregard for the law undermines the community and the common good.

Examine your conscience carefully; you may find that recklessness behind the wheel warrants mention at confession so that you can have a fresh start on the road.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.