Speeding and Death on the Highway

Auto Accident

Driving above the speed limit or driving too fast for the prevailing conditions is a major factor in both the number and severity of traffic crashes. Speeding also contributes to the increased risk of losing vehicle control. At higher speeds, cars become more difficult to maneuver -- especially on corners or curves or where evasive action is necessary.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 10,219 lives were lost due to speed-related accidents in 2012, up 2 percent from 10,001 in 2011. In 2010, speeding accounted for as much as $210 billion in medical, insurance, repair and other costs.

According to NHTSA, about 30 percent of all fatalities caused by car crashes were the result of speeding in 2011. Speeding is one of the most common traffic violations in America:

  • More than 20 percent of all the licensed drivers on the roads in the United States will be issued a speeding ticket at some point over the next 12 months.
  • About 110,000 speeding tickets issued in the US on a daily basis.

Those who are involved in accidents involving speeding often secure substantial recoveries as a result of their injuries. For example:

  • An Illinois jury awarded $1.2 million to the family of a 13-year old boy who was riding his bicycle when he was hit and killed by an ambulance that was going over the speed limit. The ambulance did not have its siren on or its lights flashing. 
  • A judge in San Diego awarded $5.4 million in damages to a motorcyclist who was severely injured by a U.S. Border Patrol agent. The crash happened on a mountain road with several blind turns and dangerous drop-offs. The Border patrol agent sped through a completely blind turn and collided with the approaching motorcyclist, throwing him off his motorcycle and causing a severely broken leg, which subsequently had to be amputated. The judge determined that the Border Patrol agent was operating his vehicle at a speed too fast for the conditions. 

Due in part to the numerous deaths and injuries caused by speeding, attitudes toward speeding have changed over the last 15 years, according to NHTSA.

  • The enjoyment of driving fast, driving as fast as possible and the belief that speed increases driver alertness appears to have decreased.
  • 40% of drivers reported enjoying the feeling of driving fast in 1997, while this percentage dropped to 27% in 2011.
  • Only 21% of drivers agreed with the statement that they try to go as fast as they can to get somewhere.

If you or someone you know has been injured by a speeding driver, use our directory to look up a lawyer near you who can assist you.

Add new comment