The Barnes Firm

A San Diego car accident lawyer explains why speed is a common factor in car crashes

Do Higher Speed Limits Cause More Car Accidents?

Do Higher Speed Limits Cause More Car Accidents?

There is a well-established link between speed and car accidents. Higher speeds of travel are linked to more car accidents and more serious injuries during car accidents. Drivers exceeding the speed limit certainly increase accident risks, but the speed limits themselves can also contribute to the potential for accidents.

Relationship Between Speed and Traffic Accidents

According to the World Health Organization, speed-related accidents account for 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in high-income countries, like the United States. Generally, the faster a vehicle is traveling, the less time the driver has to brake or react to situations on the road. Vehicles traveling at higher speeds will require longer distances to come to a complete stop.

Speed so strongly influences car accident potential that the World Health Organization states the risk of an accident goes up by 3 percent for every 1 km/h (0.6 mph) faster that a vehicle is traveling. The risk of a fatal car accident increases by 4 or 5 percent for every 1 km/h.

In addition, the force of impact in a collision is affected by the speed of the vehicles involved. A crash that takes place at about 50 mph (80 km/h) is 20 times more likely to result in a fatality than a crash that takes place at about 20 mph (30 km/h), according to the World Health Organization.

Speed is particularly important in collisions involving motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians, where victims are more vulnerable to severe harm. The odds of serious injury and death in these accidents are greatly increased when vehicles are traveling at higher rates of speed.

For instance, a pedestrian has close to a 90 percent chance of survival in a collision with a vehicle that is traveling 20 mph. The chances of a pedestrian’s survival decrease to less than 50 percent when the vehicle is traveling about 30 mph (45 km/h) and to nearly zero percent when the vehicle is traveling 50 mph.

Reducing the Harmful Effects of Speed

Many speed-related vehicle accidents and fatalities are due to drivers exceeding the posted speed limits. However, the speed limits themselves can also contribute to the risk of accidents and deaths. In areas with higher speed limits, drivers start out at higher rates of travel, and when they exceed the speed limits, they are increasing the risk of injury-causing accidents at an even greater rate.

Safety experts point out that this is one of the reasons it is vital for governments to ensure that speed limits are appropriate on all roadways. Once speed limits are adequate for the function of roadways, speed limit enforcement is the most effective way to reduce excessive speeding by drivers. Without enforcement, speed limits have a short-lived effect on driver behavior.

Many municipalities have turned to camera-enforced intersections because law enforcement officers cannot catch all instances of speeding. Traffic-calming devices, like roundabouts and speed bumps, can also reduce driver speeds and accident potential.

On a personal level, all drivers can help prevent speed-related accidents by paying attention to their rate of travel. Check weather forecasts and road conditions ahead of your departure, and give yourself plenty of time for travel to eliminate the temptation of exceeding the speed limit. Arriving at a destination slightly earlier is never worth causing an accident. Even when it seems like you are keeping up with traffic flow, be mindful of posted speed limits, and remember that they have been set at a certain rate for a reason.

What To Do If You’ve Been Hurt By A Speeding Driver

Speed is a major factor in many car accidents across the country. If you suspect speed was a factor that contributed to an accident, it should be thoroughly investigated by an experienced legal team.

At The Barnes Firm, our car accident lawyers have been recognized as Super Lawyers. Our legal team can fully investigate your claim and identify the pieces of evidence that could help maximize the compensation owed to you. If speed was a factor in your accident, we can help highlight that in court. As a result, our investigations could also help improve safety in your community with meaningful changes to local speed limits and speed enforcement.

After any accident, call The Barnes Firm or get in touch with an experienced car accident lawyer online by filling out this form.

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