Over more than two decades, speeding drivers have caused almost one-third of all accident fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), in 2018 alone, speeding was a factor in 26 percent of all traffic fatalities.
In Texas, speeding caused 2,166 total crashes in one recent year. Speeding not only endangers the speeding driver but also everyone around them. The consequences can be fatal.
Speeding can result in:
- Losing control of the vehicle
- Reduction of the effectiveness of protective equipment
- Increased severity of the crash, which can lead to more severe injuries
- Increased fuel consumption and cost
Why Do People Speed?
A 2015 NHTSA study showed that over two-thirds of the twelve million vehicles studied speed. Many factors contribute to an individual speeding, but it is ultimately an aggressive driving behavior. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) defines speeding as “exceeding the posted speed limit, driving too fast for conditions, racing.”
As to why they do it?
- Traffic. The most common contributing factor to speeding is traffic congestion. Researchers cite that busy streets cause people to get frustrated easily and impatient, causing drivers to use aggressive driving behaviors. Whether this means accelerating in short spaces or excessively changing lanes, this type of behavior causes many accidents.
- Running late. If a driver is running late, they may speed to get to their destination on time.
- Sense of detachment. Drivers often sense they are detached from the outside world since it’s difficult for others to identify them as they drive and speed. This detachment and seeming anonymity allows drivers to feel less constrained in their actions.
- “Everybody does it.” Drivers often drive at the same speed as other drivers, regardless of the speed limit. They might see other drivers pushing the speed limit or witness police officers allow speeding drivers to pass on by without accountability. This notion creates an environment where speeding is the norm and may even make the driver feel like this is what other drivers expect (i.e., peer pressure).
- Adrenaline. Some drivers like the thrill of speeding, so the GHSA includes ‘racing’ in the quoted definition. Speeding can provide that needed adrenaline rush or a sense of freedom.
- Underreported speeding. Many accident reports fail to include speeding as a contributing factor. This underreporting occurs because many accidents involving speeding may also involve other contributing factors that the report cites as more severe or more easily provable acts of negligence or wrongdoing. These actions include driving under the influence and distracted driving.
How Does Speeding Affect Drivers?
The Texas Department of Transportation reported that 25,545 crashes involved speeding in 2019. This statistic is one of the highest numbers of speeding crashes in the country.
Speeding causes a driver’s reaction time to decrease. This decreased reaction time means that the driver has less time to avoid crashes or the ability to make split-second decisions. For example, a speeding driver has less time to react if a child runs out into the street. If a car suddenly switches lanes on the highway and a speeding driver cannot brake in time, an accident is more likely to result. With a lesser amount of time to react to a situation but a greater amount of time required to brake, a driver is inevitably more susceptible to car accidents.
Speeding cars produce more energy and force when involved in a crash. Applicable laws of physics prove that the faster a car is moving when involved in a collision, the greater the resulting impact in the crash, which can cause more severe injuries and a higher risk of death.
Lastly, safety devices are less effective in speeding cars. These safety devices, such as airbags, are meant to keep you safe in the event of an accident. Though, they can only withstand a maximum amount of speed. If a driver is traveling faster than the legal speed limit, the devices may not work as they should, leading to significant injuries in the event of an accident.
What Injuries Can Speeding Cause?
Speeding resulting in accidents can cause severe injuries from the impact of the collision, including:
- Internal organ damage: Broken ribs can puncture your heart, lungs, or other organs. Your internal organs can also experience bruising and swelling after an accident since the crash is likely to cause your organs to press against your bones and chest wall.
- Broken bones and fractures: Limbs can easily strike vehicle parts, causing broken bones, fractures, and bruising.
- Seatbelt injuries: In any speeding accident, the seatbelt is likely to restrict your torso, causing a barrier that stops your body from propelling forward. This restriction can break your ribs or collar bone and cause lacerations on your torso, collarbone, and neck.
- Head and brain injuries: Rear-end collisions often cause whiplash (when your head quickly whips back and forth), resulting in head and neck injuries. Other head and brain injuries can result if your head hits the steering wheel, dashboard, windshield, side window, or other objects.
- Spinal injuries: You may experience herniated and ruptured disc injuries or spinal fractures. Also, people in speeding car accidents can experience issues with surrounding ligaments and vertebrae.
- Neck and back injuries: The whipping motion can cause injuries to the soft tissue and muscles in your neck and lower back, with pain varying from minor to severe.
- Soft tissue injuries: Any injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments can result from a speeding accident.
- Delayed pain: Often, after an accident, adrenaline courses through your body, preventing you from feeling pain immediately after an accident. You can experience injuries without immediate signs or symptoms, so you should always seek medical attention even if you feel fine.
- Paralysis: Some speeding accidents can result in full or partial paralysis.
How Can I Deal With Speeding Drivers?
If you avoid speeding, you can help prevent accidents.
Follow all traffic laws and take these four steps to avoid speeding car accidents:
- Use cruise control to set and control your travel speed. By setting your speed to the legal speed limit or under the speed limit, you can ensure that you are abiding by the law and not putting yourself or others at risk.
- Give yourself ample time before you have to arrive at your destination. If you leave with enough time, considering traffic or any stops you might need to make, you will not feel the need to rush, which often causes people to speed.
- Always remind yourself about speeding consequences, including tickets and accidents. Recognize that by speeding, you are not only putting yourself in danger, but you are also putting others in danger. You may end up facing hundreds of dollars in fines, thousands of dollars in legal fees, and compensating other people for injuries that are directly your fault.
- Pay attention to those around you, and don’t feel pressured to speed if other drivers speed.
What Are the Criminal Consequences of Speeding?
Criminal charges for speeding depend on the state where the driver is traveling. Speeding is illegal in all states. If officers catch someone speeding, the driver can face sanctions, including moving violations (e.g., tickets, fines, or license suspension).
If someone speeds excessively or causes injuries to another, they can also face criminal charges. For example, if someone speeds and causes an accident, resulting in someone’s untimely death, a prosecutor can charge the driver with vehicular manslaughter.
What Are the Civil Consequences of Speeding?
The Texas Transportation Code Section 545.351 states that “[a]n operator may not drive at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the circumstances then existing.”
Breaking this law and causing an accident can force someone to incur significant financial consequences beyond a fine. If you cause property damage or injuries to another person or their vehicle, you may be responsible for compensating the victim for those damages.
Can I Receive Compensation if a Speeding Driver Caused My Injuries?
If a speeding driver causes your injuries or damages your property, you can file a civil claim against them based on their negligence.
To prove negligence, you must show that the other driver:
- Owed you a duty of reasonable care
- Breached that duty
- That breach caused your injuries
- You actually experienced injuries
If you can prove that the other driver sped, you can argue that they acted negligently or recklessly, leading to your injuries and other damages, entitling you to fair compensation.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive if a Speeding Driver Caused My Injuries?
The compensation you can receive depends on the facts of your case.
Specifically, an insurance adjuster and the attorneys in your case will analyze your:
- Medical bills and expenses. Costs incurred due to an accident, including ambulance costs, hospital bills, doctor’s visits, prescription costs, and any rehabilitation costs, are includable in the total amount of compensation you can receive.
- Lost wages. If you had to miss work due to your injuries sustained in the accident, you can receive that lost income in recovered compensation.
- Lost future income. If you expect your injury to prevent you from returning to work, you can include a certain percentage of your lost compensation in your claim.
- Loss of companionship. If you are filing a claim on behalf of a loved one that died in a speeding car accident, you can receive compensation for the emotional damages and trauma you suffered due to your loss.
- Pain and suffering. Physical or mental anguish or distress that the speeding driver caused is often includable in the total amount of compensation you can request.
How Long Do I Have to File a Lawsuit if a Speeding Driver Caused My Injuries?
In San Antonio, the statute of limitations to initiate a claim to receive compensation is two years. In short, you have two years from the date of your accident, or in some cases, from the date that you discovered your injuries, to bring a lawsuit to hold a speeding driver accountable for your injuries.
Should I Contact a Car Accident Attorney?
If a speeding driver caused your injuries or the loss of your loved one, yes—consult a car accident attorney before discussing any settlement offers with the driver, their lawyer, or their insurance company. A car accident attorney can help you navigate the aftermath of your accident and muddle through the necessary legal processes to receive the compensation you deserve.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help Me?
A car accident attorney can help guide you through the legal processes of receiving the compensation you deserve for your injuries sustained in a crash resulting from speeding.
- Investigate the accident and gather all evidence you need to support your claim
- Evaluate the impact the other driver’s speeding had on your injuries and resulting damages, using that information to support your claim further
- Plan an efficient and effective legal strategy to secure the compensation you deserve
- Negotiate with defense lawyers and the insurance companies to ensure you do not receive a low settlement offer
- If you cannot come to a satisfactory settlement, your lawyer can go to court to represent you at trial. Trial prep includes researching relevant case law and statutes to support your claim, filing a complaint, completing discovery, representing you and presenting your claims for compensation in court, and, if need be, representing you in an appeal.
Losing a loved one or experiencing injuries and other damages after a speeding car accident can be overwhelming. A car accident attorney can help you through these difficult times by advocating for your legal rights and getting you the fair compensation you deserve to aid in your recovery.
Patino Law Firm
1802 N 10th St
McAllen, TX 78501