Speeding is defined as exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for present road conditions. Though most Americans agree that excessive speeding can be dangerous, many overlook the seriousness of the offense and the true extent of the risk posed to themselves and to others when they are in a rush or disregard the speed limit.
Speeding while driving is an act of negligence often resulting in tragic and costly consequences. It is estimated that speeding carries an average economic cost to society of over $40 billion annually. Car accidents caused by speeding may result in serious personal injuries and wrongful deaths as well as substantial damage to property. Speeding while driving contributes to nearly one-third of all fatal car accidents, resulting in an average of more than 13,000 deaths each year.
Speeding reduces the amount of control the driver has over the vehicle and the amount of reactionary time a driver has to avoid an accident. Reaction time is measured as the time it takes a driver to recognize that they need to brake, and the amount of time that it takes a driver to move their foot to the brake pedal. Average reaction time for most Americans is 1.5 seconds. At a speed of 60 mph, a car travels 132 feet in that 1.5 seconds. Elderly individuals and other motorists who may be driving while distracted can take as long as 2.5 seconds to react. At 60 mph, a car travels 220 feet in that length of time.
Speeding nearly triples the odds of being in a car accident, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. In addition to causing more accidents, speed-related crashes often result in more severe injuries than those occurring at lesser speeds. The crash energy absorbed by the human body increases exponentially as speeds increase. For example, when a car increases speed from 40 to 60 mph, the energy released in a crash more than doubles.
In bicycle and pedestrian accidents even modestly higher speeds can mean the difference between life and death. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle travelling 39 mph is twice as likely to suffer severe injury and twice more likely to die than if they were struck at a speed of 31 mph.
Studies indicate that gender and age may play a role in the likelihood of being involved in a fatal speed-related car accident. Recent data finds that 37% of young male drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding. Additionally, male drivers between the ages of 15 to 24 years are 42% more likely to be involved in a fatal speed-related crash than their female counterparts.
Speeding is likely related to other risky driving behaviors as well, including incidents of road rage and other aggressive driving maneuvers such as running red lights and failure to yield. Research shows that drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol speed more often. Speeding with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher more than doubles a driver’s chance of being involved in a fatal car accident. Also, those who speed regularly report lower use of safety systems such as wearing seatbelts in motor vehicles or wearing helmets on motorcycles.
Nearly three out of four Americans admit to speeding, according to a survey conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Though an overwhelming majority of these drivers agree that speeding leads to car crashes, most believe that the problem lies with other drivers, not themselves. Many motorists tend to overestimate their own driving skills and underestimate the potential risks of crashing due to the failure to obey the speed limit.
The reasons drivers give for speeding include being late to their destination, being unaware of the speed limit, or trying to keep up with traffic. Surprisingly, excessive speeding does not only occur on highways. Nearly half of speeding occurs on road with speed limits of 50 mph or less, and more than 20% happen on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
Those who speed have more than one incentive to slow down. In addition to tripling the chance of crashing, ignoring the speed limit has other costly consequences. Drivers caught speeding may be issued a ticket with fines ranging from $50 to more than $1,000. Repeated violations can result in increased insurance costs, suspension of driving privileges, or even a permanent loss of a person’s driver’s license.
Negligent driving, including speeding, puts everyone on the road at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a speed-related car accident, the New Jersey car accident lawyers at Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow & McElroy can help you gain the compensation you need to help you recover from your losses. Our personal injury lawyers in New Jersey represent clients throughout the state with offices conveniently located in Edison, Red Bank and Toms River. Call today to schedule your free consultation with one of our dedicated and highly skilled car accident lawyers at 732-777-0100 or contact us online.