According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were an estimated 5.7 million auto accidents in the United States in 2013 resulting in approximately 32,720 fatalities. Speeding was a factor in 29 percent of those deaths (9613). Unfortunately, data reported by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) regarding speed related accidents in Illinois for 2013 is even more alarming. Out of approximately 285,477 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in the state, a disturbing 31.2 percent were speed related. In fact, speed is a factor in an estimated 35.7 percent of injury accidents and 35 percent of accidents resulting in fatalities in Illinois.
Who is Speeding?
While an estimated 87 percent of drivers in the United States report that they believe something needs to be done to reduce the number of speeders on our roadways, approximately 30 percent (63.6 million) of American drivers continue to speed regularly. Additionally, 40 percent (nearly 85 million) report speeding occasionally. In the past five years, approximately 6.3 million drivers report having been in a speed related accident, and 2.1 million report having been in at least two accidents when speeding was a factor. Drivers who are more likely to be involved in speed related vehicle crashes include:
- Males: An estimated 35 percent of males between the ages of 15 and 24 who were involved in fatality accidents were speeding at the time of the crash. Additionally, up to age 34, young males are twice as likely to die in speed related accidents than females.
- Motorcycle Riders: In 2013, an alarming 34 percent of motorcycle riders who were involved in fatality accidents were speeding.
- Impaired Drivers: 13 percent of motorcyclists, 10 percent of passenger car drivers, and 8 percent of light truck drivers who were involved in speed related fatality accidents had a BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level of 0.08 percent or higher, and a whopping 50 percent of speeding drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 were impaired as well.
- Non-Licensed Drivers: An astonishing 23 percent of drivers who were involved in speed related fatality accidents in 2012 did not have valid driver’s licenses.
Effects of Speeding
Driving at faster speeds not only increases the risk of accidents, it increases the severity of damages and injuries when crashes occur.
- Ability to Stop: While most people are aware that faster moving vehicles take longer to stop than their slower moving counterparts, many are not aware of just how much of an impact speed can have. In the time it takes for a driver to react to a possible threat and the vehicle to come to a complete stop, the vehicle continues to cover ground. The faster the vehicle is traveling, the more distance it will cover. A vehicle traveling on dry pavement at 30 mph, for instance, will take approximately 120 ft. to stop, while that same vehicle traveling at 70 mph will cover approximately 390 ft before stopping.
- Loss of Control: Vehicles that are traveling at higher rates of speed are more difficult to maneuver, increasing the risk that the driver may lose control- especially when driving around curves or corners, or when swerving to avoid hitting something.
- Increased Damage from Impact: An increase in a vehicle’s speed of only 30 percent results in an alarming 69 percent increase in the kinetic energy that must be absorbed in an accident at impact. Since the moving vehicle and the object that is hit must both absorb the energy, the severity of property damages and injuries is increased significantly with even small increases of speed. in fact, a report issued in 2009 by the American Journal of Public Health stated that raised speed limits on roadways throughout the United States resulted in approximately 12,500 more fatalities during the ten year period between 1995 and 2005.
Speeding Doesn’t Pay
- According to the NHTSA, accidents that are related to speeding cost society more than $40 billion each year.
- In the United States, drivers pay approximately $6 million in speed related fines.
- Speeding convictions add points to driving records and can increase auto insurance premiums significantly.
- It costs Americans approximately $76,000 for every minute gained by speeding.
- Over 50 mph, every 5 mph increase in speed reduces gas mileage by 7 percent or more.
Speeding can result in severe injuries to motorists, passengers and pedestrians. Many victims suffer from significant head and neck injuries, spinal chord injuries, broken bones, and even catastrophic injuries like amputated limbs or paralysis. Additionally, vehicle damage caused by a speed related accident can be substantial. Individuals who have been involved in motor vehicle accidents that are attributable to another driver who was speeding may be able to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering