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Speeding and Fatal Accidents

When learning to drive, we know the importance of following speed limits. Yet, over the last two decades, speeding has contributed to almost one-third of all fatal accidents. In 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that speeding was a

primary contributor to 26 percent of fatal accidents. In 2018, 9,378 fatalities took place in car accidents where at least one driver was speeding. Traffic officers issue nearly 34 million speeding tickets annually and write over 60 speeding tickets each minute. Speeding leads to accidents, which leads to injuries and death. It can leave devastating results for those involved and their family members.

About 25 fatalities occur every day due to speeding, and in 2019, the Texas Department of Transportation (DOT) said 638 fatal crashes and 715 fatalities involved speeding. In 2019, speeding-related crashes resulted in 11 fatal crashes and 13 deaths in Nueces County, home of Corpus Christi. Read on to learn more about how dangerous speeding car accidents can be from our experienced car accident lawyers.

Speeding can result in fatalities for several reasons. The NHTSA states that speeding can lead to:

  • Loss of control of the car;
  • Less effective car protection;
  • Reduced stopping distance;
  • More severe crashes, which can mean more severe injuries;
  • Financial impacts on those involved;
  • More fuel cost and use;
  • Erratic driving.

Why Do People Speed?

Traffic is a common factor that can lead to people speeding, as it causes people to get frustrated and react by driving aggressively. People speed to get through congested traffic.

Time is also important. When people are running late to their next location, they feel the need to rush. Societal pressure to be on time makes people irritable and they make irrational decisions. In people’s minds, speeding may help them get to their destinations quicker. People often forget about the consequences of speeding when trying to avoid being late.

When people drive, they may forget about the world around them. In cars, people can develop a detachment and feel as though no one can see or touch them, leading to speeding, accidents, and fatalities.

Contrarily, drivers might speed due to the environment and circumstances around them.

Drivers are also more likely to speed if they’re on a long trip, if few cars are around them, or even if the weather is nice. While speeding increases the risk of accidents in all weather, on dry roads speeding contributes to over 15 percent of fatal accidents nationally. On wet roads, speeding contributes to nearly 20 percent of fatal accidents nationally, while on roads with snow, speeding contributes to nearly 40 percent of fatal accidents nationally. On roads with ice, speeding contributes to about 30 percent of fatal accidents nationally.

Distracted driving may play a role as to why people speed. Passengers, loud music, and cell phones may distract drivers from paying attention to the speedometer. Distracted driving can lead to speeding, accidents, and deaths.

Teenagers and new drivers don’t always understand the dangers of speeding. Young people get excited about their newfound freedom on the road. Their inexperience may lead to underestimating how long it takes to stop a vehicle. Many young people also feel as though they are untouchable and invulnerable to car accidents caused by speeding.

Some drivers, both young and old, indicate that speeding is fun or thrilling, often doing it for the rush of driving fast. These drivers intentionally speed for their own benefit. For them, speeding may feel like an outlet for their emotions.

Whatever the motivation behind speeding, if a speeding driver has injured you or a loved one, reach out to a car accident lawyer who can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

How to Deal With Speeding

Some tips on how to deal with speeding drivers as a safe driver include:

  • Move out of the left lane if someone behind you wants to pass. This can allow you to continue at the appropriate speed without feeling pressured to drive faster. This can also provide space between you and the speeding driver should something happen.
  • Give speeding drivers space. If they lose control, you don’t want to be near their car because it increases the chance of them colliding with you.
  • Keep an eye on the speed limit.
  • On long drives, consider using cruise control to match the speed limit. Cruise control can help you avoid speeding, especially in driving environments that encourage it, because it keeps your speed consistent.
  • Stay attentive and focused. Zoning out can lead to speeding because you may not notice how fast you’re going.
  • Feel comfortable staying in the right lane and going the speed limit.
  • Put your phone down.
  • Leave early. Give yourself enough time to get to your destination. This will prevent you from feeling rushed. If you run late, call or text whomever you plan to meet before you leave.
  • Find other ways to get a rush or thrill. Driving when in a heightened emotional state can encourage speeding. Find a safe outlet for your emotions that doesn’t involve driving.
  • Consider a GPS or app like Waze that can update you on the speed limit wherever you are.

Who Feels the Effects of Speeding?

Speeding drivers, passengers of speeding drivers, cars in speeding crashes, pedestrians, bikers, and other cars can all feel the effects of speeding.

In one recent year, the Texas DOT reported the following statistics about fatalities in crashes involving speeding:

Out of the 284 fatalities involving vehicles going over the speed limit, 148 of the fatalities were speeding drivers, 39 were passengers in the speeding cars, 16 were pedestrians, 80 were people involved in the crashes, and one was in the “other” category.

Since speeding decreases a driver’s reaction time, increases the time required for the driver to stop, and decreases the effectiveness of vehicle safety devices, it’s a real danger to the driver and everyone around him or her.

If you or a loved one is one of the millions injured by a speeding driver, contact a car accident lawyer for help getting the compensation you deserve.

Types of Injuries

The most serious consequence of speeding is death. However, other injuries may have long-term physical and psychological effects.

Common injuries caused by speeding include:

  • Cuts
  • Whiplash and other neck injuries
  • Concussions and other brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Bone injuries, including breaks and fractures
  • Muscle injuries, including strains, contusions, and soreness
  • Burns
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Limb loss
  • Knee and leg injuries
  • Shoulder injuries

Many of these injuries can follow an injured person for the rest of his or her life.

Victims, however, can recover medical expenses, including medical bills incurred after the accident, costs of rehabilitation and follow-up doctor’s appointments, and medication expenses from the driver whose negligence caused the injuries. You may recover emotional and other non-economic damages, as well. Mental and emotional suffering experienced after an accident can last for many years and include PTSD, panic attacks, anxiety, or a fear of driving.

Other injuries, such as financial harm, can occur as well. Financial harm results from damage to your vehicle and lost income due to time off work for recovery. Expenses following a speeding accident can damage your financial security, especially when PIP or health insurance does not cover some or all of your costs. Hiring an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate the complex legal system might recover the compensation you deserve.

Legal Remedies for Fatalities

If a speeding driver caused the death of your loved one, you can receive compensation for your pain and suffering and economic losses.

If your loved one’s premature death means a loss of income for your family, you must demonstrate your financial losses to receive compensation.

In addition to your loved one’s lost income, you might recover non-economic losses, including emotional distress, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (deprivation of a familial relationship), and loss of enjoyment of life stemming from the wrongful death. If your loved one provided support, service, and companionship, you can receive additional compensation. You can also receive damages for the medical expenses from the accident until the time of death, funeral expenses, and burial costs for your loved one.

To recover damages, you must show that the defendant was liable and caused the accident that took your loved one’s life. A car accident lawyer can help you meet your burden of proof to show that the opposing party acted negligently and without regard for other drivers’ safety.

To prove negligence in a speeding accident, you must establish these four factors:

  1. The other driver had a duty to you;
  2. The other driver breached said duty;
  3. The breach caused the accident and loss of life; and
  4. This accident harmed you or someone you love lost a life.

Drivers have a duty to drive with care, and this includes following speed limits. Speeding violates that duty, meaning negligence occurred. After a speeding accident, you need a car accident lawyer to help you prove your case and get you the compensation you deserve.

If you’re in an accident, a speeding car accident attorney can help you fight for justice. A lawyer with knowledge about car accident laws will help you consider your options and defend your rights.

You don’t have to fight for your rights and the compensation you deserve alone. A knowledgeable and respected car accident attorney can help you secure the compensation you deserve, so you can begin to heal. Contact a car accident lawyer to review your case today. Give us a call at (361) 400-2036.