Everyone knows the dangers of speeding, but there are a lot of drivers who do it, anyway. Maybe they can’t resist an open highway when they see one, or maybe they’re trying to make up for lost time stuck in traffic. Maybe they take all those car commercials to heart – you know, the ones that have “closed track only; do not attempt” in very small letters at the bottom?
Whatever the reasons, every driver who goes above the posted speed limit is technically violating the law. Perhaps worse, though, is that they are risking the lives of everyone around them (including themselves and their passengers) each time they go faster than they should.
According to the latest data from the National Safety Council, “Speeding was a factor in 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2021, killing 12,330, or an average of over 33 people per day. The total number of fatal motor-vehicle crashes attributable to speeding was 11,057.” The overall percentage of speeding-related fatalities (meaning the percentage of people who died) didn’t change between 2020 and 2021, but the number of fatalities increased by about 8%.
Who is most prone to speeding?
The latest information from 2020 by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) tells us that both male and female drivers between 15 and 20 years old are more likely to speed than other age groups, though males are more likely to speed than females (35 percent compared to 18 percent, respectively).
According to the NHTSA, the number of people responsible for speeding deaths gets lower as drivers get older. But even in the 45-54 age group, these experienced adult drivers are still responsible for a combined 36 percent of all speeding related deaths.
A surprising demographic for these fatal accidents are unlicensed drivers. Among drivers responsible for fatal accidents in 2020, 32 percent didn’t have valid driver licenses at the time of the crash.
Who is liable if I’m injured by a speeding driver?
Generally speaking, the speeding driver is the one who can be held liable for any injuries you sustain. The reason for this is because a speeding driver is a negligent driver.
In a car accident claim, “negligence is the failure to use reasonable care while driving a motor vehicle.” So assessing that negligence requires a few things:
- Duty of care: Every driver has a responsibility to not only follow speed limits but also to obey all road safety laws, like stopping at red lights and stop signs, using turn signals, and yielding to pedestrians. These rules ensure attentive driving, and if they are disregarded, the driver is neglecting their duty of care on the road and can be held liable for an accident.
- Causation: It must be demonstrated that the act of speeding, or any other disregarded traffic law, directly contributed to your accident and its subsequent repercussions, like your injuries and losses.
- Damages: The plaintiff – that’s you, the injured party – must show that you suffered damages, or losses, associated with the crash. These damages typically involve financial costs (like medical bills and lost wages) and non-financial costs, like pain and suffering.
Multiple parties may be found liable if their actions collectively contribute to the accident and your injuries. For example, if Speeding Driver A hits distracted Driver B, and Driver B spins out and hits you (Driver C), then it’s possible that both drivers are liable. Or, if Driver A’s gas pedal got stuck because of a defect and he was unable to slow the car, then Driver as and the auto manufacturer may share liability.
To best assess liability in your accident you should seek the experienced legal counsel of Glisson Law’s car accident and personal injury lawyers. We will carefully look at who’s at fault and help you get compensation for medical bills, treatment, and other losses. At Glisson Law in Alton, we’re here to support you in seeking justice after such accidents. A seasoned car accident attorney from our experienced Glisson Law team will undertake a thorough evaluation of the circumstances of your accident to determine liability and work to earn you fair compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation, and overall damages that resulted from your accident.
Protecting yourself when other drivers are speeding
You can’t control the actions of other drivers, and there are many who will take risks on the road. There are some things you can do, though, to help protect yourself.
- Be predictable: Communicate your intentions clearly through signals, and avoid abrupt lane changes that may catch fellow drivers off guard.
- Maintain a safe distance: Allow ample space between your vehicle and the one ahead, giving you valuable reaction time in case of sudden traffic shifts.
- Adhere to traffic rules: Follow posted speed limits and obey traffic signals conscientiously, regardless of surrounding your driver’s behaviors.
- Remain in the right lane: The left is a passing lane in Illinois and in Missouri, though it’s often treated like the “speeding” lane. Remain as far to the right as possible while you travel to reduce the risk of being tailgated, intimidated, or hit by a speeding driver.
- Stay vigilant: Avoid common distractions, such as phone and onboard interface notifications, reserving your attention for scanning for potential hazards on the road.
- Avoid aggressive behavior: Refrain from engaging with aggressive or speeding drivers. Safely let them pass and sustain a comfortable separation.
The above listed techniques all add up to what is known as defensive driving. Be a defensive driver so that you can be ready to respond adeptly to unforeseen circumstances and the erratic behavior of others.
From our office in Alton, Glisson Law extends its dedicated services to Belleville, Edwardsville, St. Clair, Madison counties, as well as the broader Southwestern Illinois and Missouri regions. Call or contact us today for a free consultation, as we work together to secure your rights and compensation after your accident.