How does speeding factor into car crashes?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents, Personal Injury |

In West Virginia, speeding while driving can lead to major traffic accidents, resulting in injuries and fatalities. Understanding some of the causes and statistics about accidents caused by speeding can help drivers understand the importance of driving safely and within posted speed limits. The following demonstrates the implications of speeding for drivers.

Speed-related fatality statistics

According to 2021 statistics from the National Safety Council (NSC), speeding played a part in almost 30% of all traffic fatalities. Approximately 12,330 individuals lost their lives in 2021 alone due to speed-related motor vehicle accidents. Traffic deaths from speeding have increased each year from 2019 to 2021 after several years of declines.

Reaction time

Speeding dramatically reduces a driver’s ability to react in dangerous or tricky situations, making it difficult to avoid a collision. The faster a car moves, the more distance drivers need to stop their vehicle safely. If a driver cannot stop or react in time, the faster their vehicle moves, the less collision protection they will receive from internal car protections like airbags and road safety structures such as guardrails or median dividers.

Do age and gender matter?

According to statistical data, the probability of crashes related to speeding decreases as drivers age. The gender and age groups with the largest fatalities for speeding-related accidents were males aged 15-24 and 25-44. For all fatal driving accidents in 2021, excessive speed contributed to 30% of the fatalities for males in these age groups. In those same age groups, females had fatalities of 19% for the same types of speeding-related fatal accidents.

Road conditions matter

Speeding contributes to accidents on clear, dry roads, but the number of fatalities increases significantly once weather and other conditions come into play. For example, over 40% of fatal speeding accidents occurred while drivers encountered mud, gravel or dirt. Standing or moving water accounted for approximately 35% of speeding accident fatalities. Other road condition contributors in fatal speed accidents were ice or frost, snow and slush and general wet road surface conditions.

Driving while impaired

Alcohol impairment and speeding often occur together, although statistically, drivers 55 years and older avoid drinking and driving more often. However, 24% of drivers under 21 with alcohol impairment died from speeding-related accidents. In comparison, 40% of fatal speeding accidents involving males aged 21 to 54 involved blood alcohol limits higher than the established legal limit of 0.08 g/dL.

Statistics can provide a sobering reminder of the number of lives lost due to speeding. Observing posted speed limits and adapting to hazardous roadway conditions can act as lifesaving measures while driving.

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