Speeding Car Accidents

Most people do not consider speeding to be a serious traffic offense, viewing it primarily as a minor violation. The reality, however, is drivers who travel at excessive speeds or speeds too fast for conditions cause as many traffic deaths as alcohol-impaired drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is cited as a factor in 33 percent of all fatal crashes, and it’s the third-leading contributing factor in all traffic accidents.

Fort Lauderdale auto accident attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm, take these cases seriously. We understand speed slashes a motorist’s reaction time and control level. A driver’s ability to steer safely around curbs or objects is severely hindered. When vehicles collide at high speeds, there is a greater likelihood of catastrophic injuries or death.

Speeding was deemed responsible for more than 13,000 deaths nationally last year, and costs society more than $40 billion annually. That’s a low estimate because it doesn’t include injuries, and it also doesn’t count traffic deaths that occur more than one month after the collision.

Where the law is concerned, speeding is not only a form of negligence, it’s also a crime. All drivers are expected to use reasonable care when operating a motor vehicle. Failure to abide by posted speed limits or traveling too fast for the conditions is a breach of this duty to use reasonable care.

Every Fort Lauderdale car accident case is different. But in most situations, a driver whose excessive speed contributed to a crash can be held liable for damages to those injured as a result.

Speeding: A Form of Aggressive Driving

Speeding is an act of aggressive driving because it requires the driver put his or her own agenda before the safety of other people – including passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians and other drivers.

The NHTSA recently studied the issue, and drivers’ motivations for speeding, particularly given the known danger. Researchers analyzed the reasons why drivers speed, classified who were the speeders and how the issue might be best addressed through policy.

What they found was that while younger drivers were more likely to speed on each trip compared to other groups, speeding is certainly not limited to any group of drivers. The act of speeding was determined to be a complex behavior, strongly associated with:

  • Opportunity
  • Presence of other cars
  • Presence of enforcement
  • Road conditions
  • Geographic location

Researchers also found speeding was strongly correlated with reckless driving (dangerous driving violations such as drunk driving, tailgating and racing) and road rage (hostility and anger toward other drivers).

Among the reasons drivers have given for why they speed:

  • In a rush
  • Not paying attention to their speed
  • Don’t believe their actions are dangerous
  • Don’t think the law applies to them
  • Don’t think they will get caught

In many cases, they return home safely and don’t get caught. This reinforces the erroneous belief that speeding is safe.

In another recent NHTSA survey on speeding attitudes and behavior, 1 in 5 drivers conceded, “I try to get to where I am going as fast as I can.” This is despite the fact that half of all motorists reported speeding as a serious problem on our nation’s roads and more than 90 percent agreed everyone should obey speed limits because it’s the law.

Where is the Danger?

Florida’s highest speed limit is currently set to 70 mph on Interstate highways. In 2014, state lawmakers approved a measure to raise the speed limit on these stretches to 75 mph. However, the governor vetoed the proposal at the behest of law enforcement groups and auto safety advocates.

At one time (1973), the national maximum speed was set by Congress at 55 mph. States were permitted to raise the limit to 65 mph in 1988, but federal limits were repealed in 1995. That allowed states to strike out on their own to set limits.

Since then, 34 states, including Florida, raised their speed limits to 70 mph or higher.

Ten states have limits of 75 mph, while five states allow drivers on certain roads to reach 80 mph.

While studies have indicated raising speed limits hasn’t increased the number of car accidents, it is believed to have increased their severity.

But highways aren’t even where the greatest hazard exists. The National Safety Council reported people are most at risk of speed-related hazards on city streets and local roads. In fact, busy roads lined with residential houses – where there are a mix of commuters, schoolchildren, pedestrians and bicyclists – tend to be where the biggest danger exists.

While many people assume they have a “grace area” in which they can safely travel 5 to 7 mph over the posted limit, researchers determined even 5 mph can make a huge difference. In simulated tests, it was shown when a child darted out in front of a vehicle traveling 30 mph, the car was able to stop in time. However at 35 mph, the driver was unable to stop, and the child was struck and killed.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a South Florida car accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at The Ansara Law Firm by calling (954) 761-4011 or toll-free at (888) ANSARA-8.