Excessive speed is a factor in numerous serious and fatal accidents — and not just on highways. Speeding is especially dangerous in neighborhoods and urban areas, where pedestrians and bicyclists may be crossing or traveling along a road.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, between 2015 and 2016, Philadelphia had a 65 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities – more than any other large United States city. Speeding was likely a factor in several of those deadly accidents. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a speeding driver, you might be entitled to compensation that can help cover lost wages and the ongoing cost of medical care.
Speeding: Nearly as Dangerous as Drunk Driving
The penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are far greater than the penalties for speeding. Yet crash statistics show that speeding kills almost the same number of people in crashes.
In July 2017, the National Transportation Safety Board released results of its speeding-related accident study. Researchers found that between 2005 and 2014, speeding was a factor in 112,580 crash fatalities. In that same time, alcohol-related crashes killed 112,948 people.
Injuries in Speed Related Accidents
Crashes that occur on highways are likely to seriously injure or kill drivers and passengers, because of the speed at which cars are traveling. According to the 2017 NTSB report, speeding also increases the risk of serious or fatal injury, even on roads with low speed limits. These are the rates of serious and fatal injuries by reported travel speed:
Travel speed 21-40 mph
- Speeding vehicles: 2.5 percent
- Non-speeding vehicles: 1.6 percent
Travel speed 41-60 mph
- Speeding vehicles: 4.4 percent
- Non-speeding vehicles: 2.3 percent
Travel speed 61 mph or higher
- Speeding vehicles: 9.8 percent
- Non-speeding vehicles: 4.3 percent
Pedestrian injury severity also depends on speed, to some extent. About 20 percent of pedestrians suffer severe or fatal injuries when struck by a vehicle traveling just over 20 mph. But 90 percent of pedestrians will be seriously injured or killed if the vehicle speed is roughly 50 mph.
School Zones and Work Zones
Experienced drivers know that they should slow down in school zones and work zones, and they are typically reminded of that fact by flashing signals and speed limit signs. But many drivers fail to heed those warnings.
The most common type of work zone crashes are rear-end crashes, when a driver (who is perhaps speeding, inattentive, or both) hits the back of a stopped or slower vehicle. In school zones, pedestrians are at great risk of injury or death when drivers don’t reduce speed.
Other Crash Risks
Most vehicle accidents involve more than just one factor. In recent years, distraction has become one of the most prominent crash factors, but distraction can’t be easily measured in the way vehicle speed can. What’s known is that speeding drivers who are also distracted have an elevated crash risk. If a driver is inattentive and also moving faster than the other cars on the road, they may be unable to avoid a crash if another car moves into the lane ahead of them or if a pedestrian steps into the road.
Help for Injury Victims of Speeding Accidents
People injured in car accidents often don’t realize how much their lives may change. Families who were saving for retirement or for a child’s college education may find that medical bills and lost wages quickly deplete their savings. The injury victim may have ongoing medical expenses – for example, multiple surgeries, months of rehabilitation, or a lifelong disability requiring around-the-clock support.
Some survivors of serious crashes also suffer from profound psychological trauma that requires ongoing counseling. Depression, anxiety, and mood disturbances are not uncommon, and they can affect entire families.
If a vehicle accident has caused a serious injury in your immediate family, you need a personal injury attorney on your side.
Wapner Newman has decades of experience representing personal injury victims in New Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area, and we’re ready to help you. We work on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing up-front for our services. Contact us for your free, no-obligation case consultation.