Drivers who speed have many reasons, but the thing they have in common is that they all believe that they are capable of handling their vehicles; they don’t set out to be involved in accidents. Unfortunately, they are wrong. Speeding is a huge problem, both in Kentucky and in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported 9,478 speed-related vehicle crash deaths in 2019. This was 26% of all traffic fatalities.
Kentucky statistics are just as bleak: in 2019, 76 people died as a result of 1,192 “unsafe speed” crashes. It’s important to remember that speeding involves more than just operating a motor vehicle faster than the posted speed limit. It also includes driving at a speed that, although technically within the limits, is unsafe for the conditions.
For example, a curved stretch of road may have a speed limit of 35 mph, but in slick or icy conditions, 35 mph is neither prudent nor safe. In fact, it is recommended that drivers should reduce their speed by ⅓ during wet driving conditions. That being said, Kentucky adds 37 more deaths to its 2019 total because of 4,188 crashes caused by driving “too fast for condition,” according to the 2019 Traffic Collision Facts reported by the Kentucky Traffic Safety Data Services.
Most drivers are aware that speeding is not only illegal, but also unsafe. Why do they do it, then? Here are several reasons:
- Traffic: If someone is angered by traffic, they may deal with the situation by speeding, (as well as by using other aggressive driving behaviors).
- Anonymity: When people get behind the wheel of a car, they often act in a more aggressive way than they would in their normal day-to-day interactions because they feel anonymous and untouchable.
- Being late: Sometimes drivers who wouldn’t ordinarily speed, ignore speed limits because they are running late for work or appointments.
- The exaggerated idea of their own skill: Often drivers have an inflated idea of their driving skills. Because they have tried certain maneuvers or speeds before and escaped unscathed, they believe that they are talented and untouchable.
- The idea that speeding is not a grave offense: People have the perception that speeding is not such a big deal when compared to drunk driving. For example, in Kentucky, the penalty for speeding is a fine ($20-$100 plus court fees, depending on how many miles above the speed limit the driver was going) and the addition of points to a license, whereas the penalties for a first DUI offense include a $200-$500 fine plus a $375 service fee, several days in jail and a suspended driver’s license.
- The idea that speeding is normal: One study found that a majority of people had no problem driving 5, 10, or even 20 mph above the speed limit. It is difficult to follow the rules when it seems that nobody else is.
- Immaturity: Sometimes speeding (or even racing) is a form of showing off. Statistics show that young men between the ages of 16-20 and 21-24 were the most likely to be speeding at the time of fatal crashes. Neuroscientists have confirmed that until the age of 25, the prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain in charge of curbing impulsive behavior — is not yet fully developed.
Why is speeding so dangerous?
- Drivers who are speeding have less time to react. If there is a hazard in the road or if the line of traffic comes to a sudden stop, the speeding driver runs out of time and road to stop.
- When cars are driven too fast for conditions, they become difficult to control. This is true when roads are slippery because of weather conditions, but also true if roads have many curves or if it is dark. Anything that makes a road difficult to navigate is a reason to slow down.
- Often when drivers speed, it increases other risky behavior. For example, they are more likely to weave in and out of traffic or to ignore (or try to beat) traffic lights.
- Other drivers or pedestrians may make faulty assumptions about how fast the oncoming speeding car is approaching and pull into traffic or attempt to cross a road when there is no time.
- Physics: The stopping distance increases as the speed of the vehicle increases. If you add thinking or perceiving distance to actual braking distance, you get these figures: A car traveling at 30 mph can stop in 89 feet (6 car lengths). Contrast that to a car driving at 60 mph, which would need 268 feet to stop (18 car lengths).
- More physics: A car that is speeding has greater momentum than one that is not. Anything that it hits is going to be more damaged than it would have been in a slower-paced accident.
Speeding is dangerous, but it is also selfish because most accidents don’t happen in isolation: other people can be injured or killed. McCoy & Sparks law office has over 60 years of combined experience representing victims of speeding drivers. We know that the #1 cause of accidents is human error, and we work to obtain compensation for those who have been injured or who have lost loved ones in motor vehicle accidents. In most accidents, we can help get you compensation for:
- Medical costs
- Future medical bills related to the crash
- Lost wages
- The cost of future earnings you will miss
- Services you may need, like therapy or in-home help
- Pain and suffering
Here’s how it works: We start by getting to know you and understanding the circumstances involved in your situation. Next, we will explain all of your options, giving you the pros and cons of each choice so that you will be empowered to make informed decisions. Finally, we will help you negotiate a settlement from the insurance company of the speeding driver or provide a strong case for you in court. You owe us nothing unless we recover compensation for you.
NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN