As per the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in the last 20 years, speeding has been a contributing factor in about one-third of all fatal motor vehicle crashes in the United States. It also plays a significant role in severe traffic accident injuries. Speeding doesn’t just endanger the life and limb of the person behind the wheel, it also endangers any passengers that he or she might have in the vehicle and anybody else on or about the roadway with the speeding driver, like bicyclists and pedestrians.
The Laws of Physics
When a driver is speeding, stopping distance increases. Danger might be dead ahead, but a speeder is less likely to slow down sufficiently or stop to avoid that danger. That’s one of the reasons why we have traffic studies and speed limits. In wet, snowy or icy conditions, stopping distances increase even more, and there is also the increased possibility of a driver losing control of his or her vehicle. If there is an impact, reduced efficacy of occupant protection equipment results.
Speeding and Crash Severity
The simple laws of physics tell us that when a person is speeding, there is also an increased degree of crash severity that usually results in greater severity of injuries. That was confirmed by the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS also related that in 1974, when Congress set a maximum national speed limit of 55 mph, traffic fatalities decreased by 16 percent. Congress didn’t reduce the maximum speed across the country for safety reasons, though; the legislative intent was to decrease fuel consumption.
Driving Too Fast For Traffic or Weather Conditions
The fact that a person might be driving at or below the speed limit can still be a form of speeding. Failure to have due regard for traffic or weather conditions becomes actionable when people are seriously injured or die when a driver is traveling too fast in rain, snow, ice, congested traffic, construction zones or emergency conditions.
Why the Need For Speed?
The NHTSA characterizes speeding as a form of “aggressive driving behavior.” Here are some reasons why people are driven to speed:
• Traffic conditions and the behavior of other drivers can trigger aggressive driver behavior, like speeding, cutting in and out of traffic or even road rage.
• Some people will never be punctual. They’re always running late. This habitual tardiness is often the result of poor planning.
• Anonymity in a closed compartment can operate to psychologically detach a driver from what is occurring in the real world on the road. He or she become less constrained in their behavior.
• An utter disregard for the other guy and the law. Courts and jails are full of these types of people.
If you were seriously injured or lost a family member as a result of the carelessness and negligence of a speeding motorist, don’t take any calls or give any kind of a statement of any kind to an opposing insurance adjuster. He or she will only try to use your own words against you in the future in efforts to attack your credibility and devalue your claim. You’ll be in need of a quality personal injury attorney who is a seasoned negotiator and trial lawyer who is respected by both insurance defense lawyers and judges. Make that call, and arrange for a consultation as soon as possible after being injured or losing a family in an accident that was caused by a speeding motorist.