Speeding Remains a Critical Threat to Drivers and Passengers
Aggressive driving practices, including reckless speeding, continue to plague the nation's roadways.
May 13, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has determined that there has been no decline in speed-related fatalities over the past three decades, despite safety measures meant to curb excessive speed and aggressive driving.
Examination of the driving behavior of motorists killed in crashes during those 30 years reveals that the seatbelt use rate increased 57 percent and there was a 24 percent decline in alcohol use among those drivers. Despite gains in these safe driving behaviors, drivers continue to speed--a behavior which tragically continues to cause preventative traffic-related injuries and wrongful death.
A 2009 study in the American Journal of Public Health found that after the repeal of the national speed limit in 1995, there was a three percent increase in traffic fatalities, totaling an about 12,000 deaths. In fact only three states have an excessive speed classification and seven have increased speed limits. Only two states have increased fines for speeding since 2005.
Reversing the Aggressive Driving Trend
To combat the deadly effects of speeding and aggressive driving, the GHSA recommends that states increase speed enforcement on all roads, but especially in school and work zones. The GHSA would like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop a national speed enforcement campaign to curb speeding and to produce public service announcements to educate drivers about the dangers of speeding. It would also like the NHTSA to promote the implementation of automated speed cameras, which only 14 states allow currently and only two allow statewide. The GHSA would finally like the NHTSA to sponsor a summit on speeding and aggressive driving, which would foster discussion on how to curb the speeding problem.
The GHSA's recommendations take aim at a very serious problem. Speed is a factor in one-third of all fatal crashes in the United States. Speeding reduces the time a driver has to react to and avoid a crash and increases the severity of a crash when one occurs. In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has determined that an increase from 40 mph to 60 mph doubles the energy released in a crash.
A 2003 NHTSA study revealed that the proportion of speed-related crashes to all crashes decreases as drivers age: as drivers grow up, speed is less likely to be a factor in their crashes. 39 percent of male drivers 15 to 20 years old involved in fatal crashes that year were speeding.
If a driver's speed causes a car accident, he or she may be held liable by an injured party for negligence or even recklessness, especially if the speed was excessive. The injured party will have to prove in court that the other driver's speeding contributed to his or her injuries.
Most Americans can probably admit to speeding at least once during their driving careers, but they probably do not realize how dangerous speeding actually is. States should take safety measures and create legislation and regulations intended to increase speed enforcement to disincentivize the perceived need to speed. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a speeder, please consult an experienced personal injury attorney to explore your legal options.
Article provided by Domengeaux, Wright, Roy & Edwards, L.L.C.
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