The list of the leading causes of car accidents has been fairly steady for quite some time – speeding, drunk driving, driver distraction, and driver fatigue. There’s no excuse for driving above the speed limit or driving too fast for traffic or weather conditions. Drivers owe a duty to other drivers, pedestrians, and bicycle riders to drive slowly enough that they can respond to any emergencies that may arise. When accidents happen due to speed, the drivers deserve to be held liable for any injuries or deaths they cause.
How dangerous is speeding?
According to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA), more than 11,200 people died in speeding accidents in 2020. For nearly 20 years, one-third of all motor vehicle deaths were due to speeding.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a vehicle accident is considered as speed-related if the driver was charged with some type of speeding or racing offense, exceeding the posted speed limit, or driving too fast for conditions.
How does speeding affect a driver’s ability to control his/her vehicle?
Speeding affects drivers of all types of vehicles including cars, trucks, and motorcycles.
The NSC states that speeding is dangerous because it reduces the time a driver can take to respond to an emergency, increases the distance the driver needs to stop, and “reduces the ability of road safety structures (such as guardrails, impact attenuators, crash cushions, median dividers, and concrete barriers) to protect vehicle occupants in a crash.”
The NHTSA adds that some of the consequences of speeding include:
- A reduced ability to control the vehicle.
- A reduction in the ability of equipment such as seat belts and airbags to protect the occupants of the vehicle.
- The likelihood of a more severe crash which means more serious and catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord damage, traumatic amputation, broken bones, nerve damage, and burn injuries.
Cars that are traveling at 60 mph are traveling 88 feet per second. In just four seconds, that driver will travel the length of a football field. There’s a lot of traffic, a lot that can go wrong, in just a few feet of the highway let alone the length of a football field.
Speeding also makes it hard for other drivers to know what to do. Should they let the car pass? Can they pull off to the side of the road? Do they have enough time to make a turn in front of a speeding driver? Speeding drivers should be held responsible for creating this confusion and causing any type of car accident.
Speeding also increases the cost to drive a vehicle.
Why do Charlotte drivers speed?
Let’s start by emphasizing that speeding is illegal. Speeding causes accidents. There’s almost nothing that can’t wait if you get to your destination a few minutes or even hours later.
Some of the many reasons drivers speed include:
- Traffic congestion. When traffic is bumper-to-bumper, drivers who go just a little faster than everyone else while swerving into and out of lanes may be speeding even if they’re traveling below the speed limit.
- Lateness. Just because your alarm didn’t go off, you’re in a rush to get somewhere, or you’re on deadline are no excuses for speeding. The person you’re driving to see can wait. Just be sure when you call the person to tell them you’ll be late, you call before you start your trip – not while you’re driving.
- Drunk driving. Drivers who are intoxicated often don’t know how fast they’re traveling.
- Distracted driving. Drivers who are looking at their smartphones aren’t noticing the speed limit, especially when the driver enters a residential zone.
- Teenage drivers. Young drivers are often thrilled to be out of the house and to show their friends how fast their car can go. Teens often focus on the people in their cars instead of the roadway. Cars aren’t toys. Teenagers need to understand there are no prizes for going fast.
A quick note about speeding for medical emergencies
If you’ve ever watched a film or TV show where a driver needs to get a passenger to the hospital quickly – for a birth, because of a gunshot wound, or for any reason – you may have noticed that those speeding drivers never get pulled over. And you may also assume that you won’t, either. After all, isn’t rushing your pregnant wife to a hospital a good reason to break the law?
As it turns out, no: it’s not. You are not exempt from speeding laws for a medical emergency. While it’s possible that law enforcement may not ticket you if you are caught, the risks are still too high to warrant a “free pass.” Instead, you should call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance.
What types of accidents do speeding drivers cause?
Drivers who speed often cause rear-end collisions because they simply don’t have enough time and distance to stop. Even if they manage to slam on their brakes, a slow-speed rear-end impact collision can still cause whiplash and soft-tissue injuries. A high-speed impact rear-end crash can cause serious injuries and deaths especially if the fast driver is operating a truck.
Drivers who speed often run through stop signs and red lights which can cause fatal broadside collisions killing not just the occupants of the vehicles they strike but pedestrians and bicycle riders who are crossing at an intersection.
Speeding drivers may strike other cars. They may strike barriers. They may fail to see the warning signs that construction is ahead, causing injuries or death to the workers at the construction sites.
Fast drivers also tend to try to pass cars too often without enough room to make the pass. As a result, the speeding driver may strike oncoming cars in the passing lane of travel in a head-on collision.
Another risk of driving too fast is that drivers may take turns too quickly causing the vehicle to roll over. Rollover accidents are often deadly. Survivors usually live with a lifetime of pain. Many rollover victims require a lifetime of medical care.
Who is liable for a speeding accident in Charlotte?
Drivers must be in control of their vehicles. If they speed and cause an accident, drivers should be held responsible for any injuries or deaths they cause. Being held responsible means paying for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of function, any scarring or disfigurement, and damage to your vehicle.
In addition to the driver, other responsible parties may include an employer of the driver (such as a trucking company), the owner of the car (in some cases), and other defendants depending on how the accident happened.
If the speeding accident is due to driver intoxication, a seller of alcohol may be liable if the driver was under 21 and was visibly intoxicated at the time of the sale.
There are different ways our lawyers at Price, Petho & Associates show a driver was speeding. The police usually conduct their own investigation. Your testimony and the testimony of other witnesses such as passengers in your car can testify about the speed of a driver. There may be physical evidence such as radar, black boxes (in trucks), and skid marks that show a driver was speeding. There’s no need to show a driver was cited for speeding.
To assert your right to compensation, call our Charlotte speeding accident lawyers or use our contact form to schedule a free initial consultation today. You can also visit one of our offices in Charlotte, Rutherfordton, and Rockingham.
Attorney Doug Petho is the owner and founder of Price, Petho & Associates. His primary focus is the litigation of plaintiff’s personal injury suits, and he has successfully tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict involving car accidents, trucking accidents, pedestrian accidents, slip and fall accidents, and work-related accidents. Contact his office in Charlotte today.