Why is Speeding So Dangerous?

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2018, 9,378 people were fatally injured in speeding-related car accidents in the United States. Although speeding is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors, it is also the most common traffic violation. In fact, during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week, law enforcement officials reported that more citations and warnings were given out for speeding than other common unsafe driving behaviors, including tailgating, a failure to wear a seat belt, and distracted driving. Unfortunately, speeding-related accidents often result in significant property damage and serious, often life-threatening injuries as a result of the extreme force of impact. Individuals who have been injured in a car accident involving another driver who was speeding are urged to contact an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Although an increasing number of motorists are consistently using their seat belts, and there have been fewer drunk driving fatalities, speeding continues to be a significant problem on busy highways, as well as rural two-lane roads. The NHTSA actually considers speeding to be a form of aggressive driving, which it defines as committing a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property. Many safety officials believe that speeding and other types of aggressive driving should receive the same attention as drunk driving programs.

What are the Consequences of Speeding?

In addition to driving above the posted speed limit, a motorist is also considered to be speeding if he or she is driving too fast for the road conditions or the current weather conditions. Because speeding is illegal, any motorist who is caught exceeding the speed limit may be issued a speeding ticket that can cost the driver hundreds of dollars. In addition, the ticket may result in an increase in the motorist’s insurance or missed work if the driver is expected to appear in traffic court.

Speeding also has a significant impact on the environment. Local law enforcement officials set speed limits to ensure that motorists are driving at a safe speed based on whether the road is a busy highway or a residential street in a school zone. They also set speed limits to reduce the environmental impact of road traffic, which includes vehicle noise, vibration, and emissions. The Ford Motor Company reported that a vehicle that is driving at a speed of 65 mph consumes approximately 15 percent more fuel than if the same vehicle were travelling at 55 mph. When a vehicle consumes more fuel, it releases more harmful CO2 into the atmosphere.

The following are additional examples of potential consequences of speeding:

  • Motorists are more likely to lose control of the vehicle.
  • The occupant protection equipment may be less effective.
  • There is a greater stopping distance required once the driver perceives an immediate danger.
  • Accidents caused by speeding tend to cause greater property damage and more severe injuries.
  • There are more significant financial implications associated with a speeding-related car accident.

What Causes People to Speed?

Between work, school, family life, and other commitments and responsibilities, life can be busy and stressful. People are in a rush to get from one place to another. In some cases, their impatience, stress, and aggression may cause them to drive too fast. The following factors have contributed to the problem of speeding and other types of aggressive driving:

  • Heavy traffic: Traffic congestion is one of the most common causes of speeding. When traffic is heavy, drivers may be more likely to swerve in and out of lanes, tailgate, and speed up the first chance they get to make up for the time stuck sitting in slow-moving traffic.
  • Running late: Another factor that causes motorists to drive too fast is if they are running late for work, school, a meeting, their child’s soccer game, or any other scheduled appointment. The more late they are, the faster they are likely to drive. Unfortunately, driving at a high speed increases the risk of a serious accident that can cause devastating injuries.
  • Sense of anonymity: Oftentimes, drivers feel shielded from the outside world when they are inside their car. As a result, they may be more likely to engage in behavior that they would not do if they were not inside of their vehicle. Whether that is speeding, giving another driver a rude gesture, or cutting of another driver, this can cause serious accidents.
  • Disregard for the law and the safety of others: It is generally a small percentage of motorists who frequently drive in an aggressive manner. Unfortunately, the ones who do also tend to drive much too fast and disregard the posted speed limit signs.

What Types of Drivers are More Likely to Speed?

Research shows that the following motorists are more likely to exceed the speed limit:

  • Male drivers are more likely to speed than female drivers.
  • Male drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 are the drivers who are most likely to speed.
  • In 2018, roughly 30 percent of male drivers in the above age group who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the accident, compared with 18 percent of female drivers age 15 to 20, and 14 percent of female drivers age 21 to 24.

What Road Conditions are the Most Dangerous for Speeding?

As discussed, motorists who are driving too fast for the current conditions are considered to be speeding. When the roads are icy, wet, or slick, motorists should reduce their speed and use extra caution.  The following are statistics of fatal car accidents that occurred in 2018 where speeding was a factor:

  • Close to 20 percent on wet roads
  • Thirty-seven percent on snow or slush-covered roads
  • Thirty-seven percent of roads with moving or standing water
  • Over 40 percent on roads with ice or frost
  • Forty-five percent on roads with mud, dirt, or gravel

What Should I Do if I Encounter Another Driver Who is Speeding?

Motorists who drive too fast put their own safety at risk as well as the safety of the other passengers in the car, other drivers in the vicinity, and bicyclists and pedestrians who may also be sharing the road. When another driver is speeding, motorists can avoid being in a speeding-related car accident by keeping the following safety tips in mind:

  • If the driver is in the left lane and the car that is speeding wants to pass, the driver should move into the right lane to allow the car to pass.
  • Give speeding cars plenty of road space. If the speeding driver loses control of his or her vehicle, the other motorist will be better able to avoid an accident.
  • It is wise to be a defensive driver. If a driver is being tailgated by another motorist, he or she should safely steer out of the way and let the speeding driver pass. Motorists should avoid using hand gestures or rude comments, because this can cause an aggressive driver to become confrontational or even violent.

What Steps are Being Taken to Enforce Speeding Laws?

The NHTSA continues to partner with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to provide a range of valuable resources for state and local governments to use to develop effective speed management programs, which should involve the following:

  • Establish speed limits that are safe and reasonable.
  • Define the relationship between speed, speeding, and safety.
  • When determining appropriate speeds, apply road design and engineering measures.
  • Seek cooperation and support from traffic safety stakeholders.
  • Use enforcement efforts and technology that will effectively target crash-producing speeders and prevent speeding.
  • Create communication and educational messages that focus on drivers who are more likely to speed, including teen drivers and male drivers. Speed Management Programs will use a multidisciplinary approach to identify speeding issues in state and local communities.

The NHTSA will also provide training to all law enforcement officers on how to use the latest speed-measuring technology, including radar and lidar. This can help police officers target drivers who are speeding and focus on areas such as school and work zones, where there also tends to be more pedestrians. A high-visibility enforcement campaign sponsored by the NHTSA could promote best practices in automated enforcement strategies and bring safety experts together to develop an effective program to prevent speeding and aggressive driving, according to the Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Advocate for Victims of Speeding-Related Car Accidents

If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a car accident, and the other motorist was speeding at the time of the accident, it is in your best interest to contact the highly skilled Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton at your earliest convenience. We will thoroughly review the details of the accident and determine who is responsible for your injuries. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process and address all your questions and concerns along the way. We will protect your rights and ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.