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Speeding Is A Factor In 29 Percent Of Fatal Car Accidents

A motor vehicle accident in Texas is classified as a speeding crash if the driver faced charges for a speeding offense or if factors such as driving too fast for the road conditions, violating prescribed speed limits, or racing behavior were identified as contributing factors.

Excessive speeding diminishes the driver’s reaction time in critical situations, prolongs vehicle stopping distances, and compromises the effectiveness of safety measures like guardrails and median dividers.

Speeding is a Top Cause of Motor Vehicle Accidents, Injuries, and Fatalities

According to data from the National Safety Council, in 2022 speeding led to 29% of all traffic fatalities, claiming the lives of 12,151 individuals, equating to more than 33 fatalities daily. During the year, the percentage of fatalities attributed to speeding (29%) surpassed the figure of 26% recorded in 2019.

Demographic Data

In 2022, the rate of speeding-related crashes in comparison to all fatal crashes declined with increasing age among drivers. Across all age brackets, female drivers exhibited a lower propensity for speeding than male drivers. Notably, young male drivers within the age ranges of 15-20 and 21-24 were identified as the most prone to speeding at the moment of fatal accidents.

Statistics indicate that at least 32% of male drivers within these age brackets involved in fatal crashes were speeding, whereas only 19% of female drivers within the same age groups were found to be speeding at the time of the collision.

Road Condition Data

Speeding becomes increasingly critical for drivers involved in fatal crashes as roadway conditions deteriorate. In 2022, speeding played a role in fatal crashes as follows: On dry roads, 18% of drivers were involved in fatal crashes. On wet roads, the figure was 21%. For roads with slush or snow, it was 33%. Moving or standing water on roads saw 39% involvement in fatal crashes. For roads with frost or ice, the rate stood at 41%. Lastly, roads with dirt, mud, or gravel witnessed 44% of fatal crashes involving drivers.

One major reason for which drivers may receive citations from law enforcement for speeding is “driving too fast for the road conditions.” While driving within the prescribed speed limit might be deemed safe on a dry road, maintaining that same speed when the road is wet, snowy, or icy may be regarded as hazardous or “too fast for the road conditions.”

Alcohol Impairment Data

Speeding and alcohol impairment frequently occur together, and this tendency varies depending on the age of the driver. Among speeding drivers under the age of 21 involved in fatal crashes, approximately 27% are found to be alcohol impaired, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher.

In the age group of 21 to 54, at least two out of five (40%) speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes are alcohol impaired. This percentage decreases slightly to 36% among drivers aged 55 to 64 and continues to reduce with the increase in the driver’s age.

Car speeding through a residential area

Speeding is Equivalent to Impaired Driving in Terms of Accident Risk

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published findings from its comprehensive safety study focused on reducing speeding-related accidents involving passenger vehicles. According to the NTSB, the connection between speed and auto accidents is intricate and influenced by various factors. However, speeding significantly elevates the risk of both being involved in an accident and the severity of resulting injuries.

The study equates speeding’s danger level to that of impaired driving, attributing as many as 112,580 passenger vehicle highway crash fatalities to speeding between 2005 and 2014. Remarkably, this figure is comparable to the number of deaths, 112,948, caused by alcohol-involved motor vehicle accidents during the same period.

Despite these alarming statistics, the study highlights the lack of significant social consequences associated with speeding compared to those of impaired driving convictions. Additionally, it underscores the high frequency of speeding behavior among drivers in the United States, despite the widely-known safety threat it poses.

Speeding is the #1 Cause of Road Accidents in Texas: 1 Out of 3 Traffic Fatalities in Texas Due to Speeding

In 2021, Texas witnessed a staggering surge in traffic fatalities, reaching levels not observed since 1981, with speed being a contributing factor in a major portion of these incidents. According to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), speed emerged as the primary cause behind a substantial portion of the total 163,756 traffic crashes recorded in the state that year. These crashes resulted in 6,493 serious injuries and a tragic toll of 1,532 fatalities.

“Speed is the number one factor in roadway crashes in our state, causing one out of every three traffic deaths,” said TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “When you speed, you increase the risk of death and serious injury in a collision. By observing the speed limit and driving to specific weather and road conditions, Texans can make our roads safer for everyone.”

TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams

Speeding Laws in Texas

In Texas, the state’s speeding laws are regarded as some of the most stringent in the country. For instance, drivers could potentially be issued a speeding citation for exceeding the posted speed limit by as little as one mile per hour. However, this scenario doesn’t always apply universally. This is due to the fact that Texas has two distinct types of speeding laws: the prima facie speed limit and the basic speed rule.

Texas car accident lawyers with a deep understanding of these laws can help protect the rights of the injured victims in speeding accident cases.

Basic Speeding Law

The basic speeding law in Texas mandates that drivers must always operate their vehicles safely, taking into account the prevailing road conditions, irrespective of the posted speed limit. This implies that drivers should adjust their speed to ensure road safety based on factors like weather conditions, visibility, and traffic density.

For instance, driving at excessive speeds during heavy rain or snowfall could endanger oneself and others on the road, potentially leading to citations or penalties if caught by law enforcement.

Prima Facie Speed Limit

In Texas, the Prima Facie Speed Limit, as outlined in the Texas Transportation Code Section 545.352, establishes that driving above the designated speed limits serves as “prima facie proof” that the speed is unreasonable.

Unlike many other states that set specific speed limits, Texas adopts this approach to presumed violations, providing law enforcement officers with more flexibility in enforcing speeding laws. However, this also means that drivers may not necessarily receive citations for slight speed infractions, particularly under favorable road conditions.

Speeding vehicle being captured by a speed camera

Reduced Reaction Time: How Speeding Impacts Driver Response

Speeding and Perception Time

When a driver is traveling at high speeds, their ability to perceive and process information diminishes. This phenomenon, known as “perception time,” refers to the time it takes for a driver to recognize a potential hazard, such as a pedestrian crossing the street or a vehicle suddenly braking ahead. At higher speeds, the brain requires more time to process visual cues and make decisions, delaying the driver’s reaction to emerging threats on the road.

Delayed Motor Response

In addition to perception time, speeding also prolongs the time it takes for a driver to physically respond to a perceived hazard. This delay, known as “motor response time,” encompasses the time it takes for the driver to move their foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal and apply braking force to the vehicle. At increased speeds, the distance traveled during motor response time becomes greater, resulting in a delayed application of brakes and an increased risk of collision.

Impact on Emergency Situations

Speeding exacerbates the challenges of responding to emergency situations on the road. In scenarios requiring sudden braking or evasive maneuvers, such as avoiding a collision with a stopped vehicle or swerving to avoid debris, every fraction of a second counts. However, speeding diminishes a driver’s ability to react promptly and execute these maneuvers effectively, heightening the likelihood of accidents and reducing the chances of avoiding collisions altogether.

Increased Stopping Distance: How Speeding Extends the Time to Halt

Impact of Speed on Braking Distance

The fundamental principle to comprehend is that braking distance is not linearly correlated with speed. Instead, it increases exponentially as speed rises. In simple terms, the faster a vehicle travels, the longer it takes to stop. This phenomenon occurs because kinetic energy, which is directly proportional to the square of the speed, must be dissipated through braking to bring the vehicle to a halt. Consequently, even small increments in speed can result in significant extensions of braking distance.

Factors Influencing Braking Distance

Several factors contribute to braking distance, including road conditions, vehicle weight, tire traction, and brake efficiency. However, speed remains the most significant determinant. Even under ideal conditions, such as dry, level pavement with properly maintained brakes and tires, the braking distance of a speeding vehicle will far exceed that of a vehicle traveling at a safe, controlled speed.

Loss of Vehicle Control Due to Speeding: A Dangerous Consequence

Impact of Speed on Vehicle Stability

Speeding increases the kinetic energy of a vehicle, making it more challenging for drivers to maintain control, especially when navigating curves, turns, or unexpected obstacles. As speed rises, the vehicle’s stability decreases, amplifying the effects of minor steering inputs or external forces such as crosswinds or road irregularities. This reduced stability compromises the driver’s ability to respond effectively to changing road conditions, increasing the likelihood of loss of control.

Difficulty in Maneuvering

At higher speeds, vehicles require more time and distance to execute maneuvers such as lane changes, merging, or evasive actions to avoid hazards. Speeding diminishes the driver’s margin of error, making it harder to anticipate and react to potential dangers on the road. Rapid acceleration and deceleration associated with excessive speed further exacerbate the challenge of maintaining control, particularly in emergency situations where split-second decisions are critical.

Effects of Environmental Factors

Environmental factors such as wet or slippery road surfaces, reduced visibility, and adverse weather conditions compound the risk of loss of vehicle control when combined with speeding. Wet roads, for example, reduce tire traction, increasing the likelihood of skidding or hydroplaning when braking or cornering at high speeds. Similarly, poor visibility due to fog, rain, or darkness reduces the driver’s ability to anticipate obstacles or hazards ahead, further compromising control.

Increased Vehicle Rollover Risk

Speeding significantly elevates the risk of rollover accidents, particularly in vehicles with a higher center of gravity, such as SUVs, vans, or trucks. When negotiating curves or sudden maneuvers at excessive speeds, these vehicles become more susceptible to tipping or rolling over, leading to severe injuries or fatalities for occupants. The destabilizing forces exerted on the vehicle during high-speed maneuvers can overcome the tire grip, causing the vehicle to lose traction and ultimately rollover.

The Correlation Between Speeding and Severity of Injuries in Motor Vehicle Accidents

Increased Impact Force

One of the primary reasons speeding leads to more severe injuries in accidents is the heightened impact force generated by vehicles traveling at higher speeds. The kinetic energy of a moving vehicle increases exponentially with speed. When vehicles collide at high speeds, the forces exerted on occupants’ bodies can cause severe trauma, including head injuries, internal organ damage, and spinal cord injuries, leading to long-term disabilities or fatalities.

Reduced Crash Survival Rate

Speeding decreases the likelihood of surviving a motor vehicle accident due to the increased forces involved in high-speed collisions. Studies have shown that occupants of vehicles involved in speeding-related crashes are more likely to sustain life-threatening injuries or be ejected from the vehicle upon impact, further increasing the risk of fatality.

Impact on Vulnerable Road Users

Speeding not only endangers occupants of motor vehicles but also poses serious risks to vulnerable road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. When vehicles travel at excessive speeds, the likelihood of striking pedestrians or cyclists increases. Pedestrians struck by speeding vehicles are more likely to suffer severe head trauma and spinal cord injuries, leading to higher mortality rates and long-term disabilities.

Multiple vehicles speeding on a highway

How Texas Personal Injury Lawyers at Tijerina Legal Group Prove Liability in Speeding Accidents

At Tijerina Legal Group, our experienced Texas personal injury lawyers utilize various types of evidence to demonstrate that the negligent driver’s speeding behavior directly contributed to the accident and your injuries. Here are the key types of evidence we collect to support your case:

Witness Statements

Eyewitness testimonies from individuals who observed the accident can provide valuable insight into the circumstances leading up to the collision. Witnesses may recall details such as the speed of the vehicles involved, aggressive driving behaviors, or other factors indicative of speeding. Our legal team objectively interviews witnesses and obtains their statements to corroborate your version of events and establish the negligent driver’s speeding as a contributing factor.

Accident Reconstruction

Accident reconstruction experts play a key role in analyzing the physical evidence and reconstructing the sequence of events leading to the crash. Using advanced techniques such as computer simulations and forensic analysis, these experts can determine the speed of the vehicles involved, the point of impact, and other critical factors essential for establishing liability. By presenting scientifically sound reconstructions of the accident, we strengthen your case and provide compelling evidence of the negligent driver’s speeding.

Vehicle Data Recorders (Black Box Data)

Many modern vehicles are equipped with event data recorders, commonly referred to as black boxes, which capture essential data related to the vehicle’s operation, including speed, acceleration, braking, and steering inputs. Retrieving and analyzing the data from the black box can provide precise information about the speed of the vehicle leading up to the accident. Our lawyers work diligently to obtain this critical evidence and leverage it to demonstrate the negligent driver’s speeding behavior.

Surveillance Camera Footage

In some cases, surveillance cameras located near the accident scene may have captured footage of the collision as it occurred. Reviewing surveillance footage can help corroborate witness accounts, provide visual evidence of the accident dynamics, and potentially capture the speeding behavior of the negligent driver. Our attorneys conduct thorough investigations to identify and obtain any available surveillance footage that supports your claim.

Skid Marks and Road Debris

Physical evidence such as skid marks, tire tracks, and debris scattered at the accident scene can provide valuable clues about the speed of the vehicles involved and the dynamics of the collision. Our attorneys carefully examine these elements to reconstruct the events leading up to the crash and determine whether the negligent driver was speeding. Photographs and documentation of the accident scene help preserve this crucial evidence for use in your personal injury case.

Extent and Nature of Vehicle Damage

The severity and pattern of damage to the vehicles involved in the accident can provide insights into the speed at which the collision occurred. High-impact crashes typically result in extensive damage to the vehicles, indicating that one or both drivers were likely traveling at excessive speeds. By documenting and analyzing the extent of vehicle damage, our legal team strengthens your case by demonstrating the correlation between speeding and the severity of the accident.

Pursuing Punitive Damages in Extreme Speeding or Racing Accidents: A Legal Strategy by Attorney Humberto Tijerina

In cases where extreme speeding or reckless racing leads to catastrophic injuries or wrongful death, the conduct of the at-fault driver may be deemed sufficiently egregious to warrant punitive damages, in addition to economic and non-economic damages. Whether it is street racing on public roads or exceeding posted speed limits by a significant margin, such behavior demonstrates a reckless disregard for the safety of others and can have devastating consequences.

When advocating for punitive damages in cases involving extreme speeding or reckless racing accidents, Texas personal injury attorney Humberto Tijerina employs a strategic approach designed to maximize compensation for his clients.

Establishing Gross Negligence

Attorney Tijerina begins by gathering evidence to demonstrate that the at-fault driver’s conduct constituted gross negligence or willful misconduct. This may involve obtaining eyewitness testimony, accident reconstruction reports, black box data, and other relevant evidence to establish the defendant’s extreme speeding or reckless racing behavior.

Highlighting the Severity of Consequences

Next, attorney Tijerina establishes the devastating impact of the accident on his client’s life, highlighting the catastrophic injuries sustained or the tragic loss of a loved one. By vividly illustrating the physical, emotional, and financial toll of the accident, he underscores the need for punitive damages to provide a sense of justice and deter similar misconduct in the future.

Demonstrating Conscious Disregard for Safety

Attorney Tijerina argues that the defendant’s actions demonstrated a conscious disregard for the safety of others on the road. Whether it was street racing at dangerously high speeds or willfully ignoring traffic laws, he presents compelling evidence to show that the defendant’s behavior posed a significant risk to public safety.

Putting Pressure on Insurers to Settle

Throughout the negotiation process, attorney Tijerina applies strategic pressure on insurance companies to agree to a large settlement amount. He leverages the threat of punitive damages and the potential for adverse publicity to incentivize insurers to offer the largest possible compensation to his clients. By presenting a strong case and demonstrating a willingness to go to trial if necessary, he creates a sense of urgency for insurers to resolve the matter expeditiously.If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a speeding accident, the proven Texas car accident lawyers at Tijerina Legal Group will fight to maximize your compensation. To schedule your free consultation, call us 24/7 at (956) 777-7770 or contact us online.

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Revisado por Humberto Tijerina

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