Drivers who fail to observe the posted speed limit put themselves and others on the road at risk of severe injury or death. Excessive speed is a factor in one-third of all fatal traffic accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In fact, when many states increased their interstate speed limits in 1996, traffic fatalities on those highways promptly jumped by 15 percent.
If you were hurt in a crash caused by a driver who was speeding, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses. An experienced Gainesville car accident attorney from Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., can help you understand your rights and legal options after a crash.
To schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable team, call us or reach out to us online today.
How Speeding Increases the Risk of Traffic Fatalities
Speed limits are in place for our safety. Failure to observe the speed limit increases the risk of a serious injury or fatal crash. Some of the reasons speeding is so dangerous include:
Speeding increases the likelihood of crashing. Speed limits on roads are not arbitrary limits. They are selected based on science. Speed limits are set based on the physical features of roads, knowledge about how fast the average person can react to something suddenly changing (like a deer leaping into the roadway, for example), and the physics of cars — how quickly they can stop, how sharply they can turn, and so forth.
Speeding reduces the amount of time to react to avoid a crash. It takes a finite amount of time for a driver to observe changing conditions and then respond. Reaction times vary by individual. In general, it takes the average person around 250 milliseconds to react to one visual stimulus. Unfortunately, in a real-life traffic situation, there are often many things going on simultaneously, and under such conditions, the average reaction time may increase to half a second. The faster a driver is going, the less time he or she has to react before causing a crash.
Speeding increases the distance required to stop a vehicle in emergencies. Another reason why accidents are more likely to occur at high speeds is simple physics. The faster a car is moving, the longer it takes to stop. Under ideal driving conditions, taking into account the human reaction time before applying the brake, this is the average distance a typical car will travel before coming to a full stop:
- 25 mph: 85 feet
- 35 mph: 136 feet
- 60 mph: 305 feet
Large vehicles like SUVs and trucks can take considerably longer to stop than an average four-door sedan.
Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway. Fundamental physics is also involved when navigating curves or avoiding hazards in the road. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the more forward momentum it has. It can be challenging to get a speeding car around a sharp curve or to swerve suddenly. Drivers who attempt sudden maneuvers while speeding will spin out of control, veer into the opposite lane, or drive off of the road.
Speeding increases the severity of a crash. The speed at which a vehicle is traveling will have a significant effect on the force of the crash. The impact of a crash for a vehicle traveling at 65 mph is the same as the force of impact you would experience if you drove your car off of a 12-story building, according to Automotive Fleet.
The force of impact increases exponentially with even slight increases in speed. If you were to hit a utility pole at 25 miles per hour, the force of impact of a passenger vehicle (that can easily weigh 4,000 pounds) would be significant. If you were to increase the speed by just 10 miles per hour to 35 mph, the force of impact doubles. At 50 mph, the crash force is four times as severe, and at 75 mph, it is nine times as severe as a crash at 25 mph.
Why Do Drivers Speed?
While most people are aware that speeding is dangerous, people still choose to disregard the posted limits routinely. According to a survey conducted by AAA, some of the most commonly cited reasons for speeding include:
- Not realizing he or she was speeding – 24% of respondents
- Running late for work – 18%
- Driving the same speed as everyone else – 14%
- Rushing to drop off or a pick up a child – 11%
- Experiencing a medical emergency – 11%
- Failing to see the posted speed limit – 11%
- Speeding to get to a bathroom – 9%
- Running late to an interview – 8%
- Running late for a funeral – 3%
- Rushing home with hot food – 1%
There is no good excuse for speeding and putting others’ lives at risk. If you have been hurt in a crash with a speeding driver, you need to learn about your legal rights. Contact us today to discuss the specifics of your case.
What to Do After a Car Accident Caused by Speeding
If you were hurt in an accident caused by a driver who was speeding, it is crucial that you take steps to protect yourself and your injury claim:
- Be sure to contact police immediately and seek medical care as soon as possible.
- Get the contact information for anyone involved in the crash, including their name, phone number, license plate, driver’s license number, and insurance information.
- If there were witnesses to the crash, get their information as well so they can provide a statement.
- If you can, take photos of the scene, the vehicles involved, and your injuries.
- Talk to an experienced traffic collision attorney as soon as possible.
How Long Do I Have to File a Traffic Collision Lawsuit in Florida?
There is a set time limit, known as the statute of limitations, for any injured person to file a personal injury lawsuit in Florida. Florida law establishes this time limit as four years from the date of the accident. If you fail to file your lawsuit within this time, the court will not hear your case.
While four years might seem like a significant amount of time, keep in mind that injury cases can be complicated. You will want to hire an attorney right away to secure vital evidence before it is lost or cleaned up, and your attorney will want to speak to any eyewitnesses before their memories fade over time.
Let Our Gainesville Car Accident Attorneys Help You
For nearly four decades, the car accident attorneys of Fine, Farkash, & Parlapiano, P.A., have proudly served those who have been injured in crashes in Gainesville and surrounding areas. We have a notable track record of success helping those who have been hurt due to the negligence of other drivers.
Let us help you demand the justice and compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation with a knowledgeable member of our team.