According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), speeding plays a role in approximately 25 percent of fatal car accidents every year. This sobering statistic can make an even greater impact when you consider this:
- Speeding accidents are completely preventable.
When drivers speed, they put themselves and everybody around them at risk of injury. Speeding accidents are largely preventable and negligence or recklessness generally cause them.
While speed limits are typically prominently posted on the side of the road, sometimes that is not the case. Regardless, drivers must travel at reasonable and safe speeds permitted by the state:
- In business districts and thickly settled areas, the speed limit usually caps out at 30 miles per hour.
- In established school zone areas, the speed limit is generally 20 miles per hour.
- Major highways, like Route 128 and the Massachusetts Turnpike, have higher speed limits—usually, the limit is 65 miles per hour or higher.
- Some highways, like the Ted Williams Tunnel in Boston, have reduced speed limits.
Say up-to-date on the speed limit signs in the areas that you frequently drive through. In one state, speed limit laws changed in a recent year:
- After the law change, cities and towns have the right to lower the statutory speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour in business districts and thickly-settled areas.
Speeding Leads to More Fatalities
Some concepts from physics can help explain this further:
- According to Newton’s Second Law of Motion, force is equal to mass times acceleration (F=MA).
- Traffic collisions with the most force at impact have a higher likelihood of fatality.
- Generally, to generate substantial force, something must either have an exceptional amount of mass or be traveling at exceptionally high speeds.
When drivers speed, they increase the acceleration portion of the F=MA formula. This magnifies the force created upon impact, generally resulting in more severe injuries and a greater risk of fatalities from the accident.
Speeding Does Not Just Create More Force During a Crash; It Creates Other Dangerous Consequences That Can Prove to Be Fatal
One of the easiest ways to understand how speeding can increase the likelihood of accident fatalities involves the equation above.
But did you know that the NHTSA has also directly linked speeding to:
- Greater potential loss of vehicle control: Speeding makes it difficult for drivers to maintain control over their vehicles. When speeding, it is more difficult to perform normal operations in the vehicle like maneuvering around curves, or reacting to road hazards or other erratic drivers.
- Reduced effectiveness of safety equipment: Speeding decreases the likelihood that an airbag or seatbelt will help keep you safe.
- Increased stopping distance: The faster you drive, the more room you need to stop. Drivers often fail to accurately consider this constant and significant threat.
How Can You Determine Vehicle Speed During an Accident?
If you report that another driver was speeding during a car accident, the police may open a traffic investigation. Each case and investigation is different. In some cases, the police may perform an accident reconstruction investigation.
A traffic accident reconstruction investigation generally involves:
- Scene inspections (measurements of the scene etc.)
- Evidence collection
- 3D data
- Use of collision reconstruction software like CAD, vehicle spec databases, momentum and energy analysis programs, etc.
A car accident attorney could help you work with the police to advocate for your best interests. Some lawyers also open their own independent investigations. These investigations may involve surveillance videos, witness interviews, and more.
Frequently Asked Speeding Accident Questions
- How much compensation will I receive for my speeding accident?
Nobody can tell you for sure. Even your lawyer (if you retain one) cannot guarantee a case’s value. An attorney may provide you with valuation estimates, in some circumstances.
- Is anyone at heightened risk of being involved in a speeding accident?
Yes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teen drivers are especially likely to speed. Additionally, they are less likely to allow enough stopping space between them and the vehicle ahead of them, increasing the risk of an accident. Male teen drivers are especially prone to speeding. Nearly 40 percent of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding when the accidents took place.
- I keep getting calls from insurance agents. What should I do?
If you can, do not answer them right away. It is often better to wait to speak with the insurance agents until after contacting a speeding accident attorney. The Insurance company may offer a settlement to convince the accident survivor to quickly agree to a lesser sum. The survivors may deserve far more.
- Why is speeding so dangerous?
Massachusetts is an especially dangerous place to speed. The congested roads in and around Greater Boston can fill with pedestrians, buses, trains, taxis, bicyclists, and a variety of other vehicles. Many of the old and narrow streets do not leave much space between vehicles to stop. Our weather also causes its fair share of accidents every year.
- What if I have lost a loved one to a speeding accident? Should I file a speeding accident case?
You may partner with an experienced, empathetic wrongful death attorney to help you seek justice for your loved one.
Can a Car Accident Attorney Help if a Speeding Vehicle Injured Me?
The truth is that nobody can guarantee a lawyer will help with your case until you have received a consultation and retained a lawyer. The legal field can be murky. We try not to make promises, but car accident lawyers have helped many accident survivors. Depending on the circumstances of your case, a car accident lawyer may help you.
Attorneys help speeding accident victims in many ways. If you work with an accident lawyer, some of the things he or she could assist you with are:
- Gathering evidence;
- Speaking to insurance companies;
- Communicating with other people involved in the accident; and
- Pursuing compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Since car accident lawyers generally offer free consultations and work on contingency fees, you have nothing to lose by calling and asking for a case evaluation and seeing what help a car accident attorney can provide you.