Speeding and car accidents are almost synonymous. Although about 75% of all motorists drive over the speed limit as a daily occurrence, any time you speed you are decreasing your perception-reaction time and increasing your chances for an accident. There is a reason why certain roads have particular speed limits. Traffic engineers, in conjunction with experts in state and the federal government, have deemed such speeds necessary for the flow of traffic and at least a modicum of safe driving.
Speeding increases the forces inherent in a collision, which often results in more serious injuries. Braking time is also decreased considerably. The following are some speeding facts for you to consider.
- Speed and stopping distances
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that speeding causes about 30% of all car accidents and roughly 39% of motor vehicle collisions that result in a fatality. Your stopping distance is critical. For example, at 20 mph, your braking distance on a dry road surface may be 20 feet, but your overall stopping distance may be about 40 feet based on your perception-reaction time. At 40 mph, your overall stopping distance more than doubles to 120 feet. On a wet pavement, these stopping distances are greater.
- Perception-reaction time
In car accident reconstruction, experts generally consider a time of 0.7 seconds as the normal perception time for an average motorist to notice that there is a dangerous condition ahead. The reaction time, or the time it takes to apply the brakes or take some evasive action, is about 0.8 seconds for a combined time of 1.5 seconds. This time assumes the driver does not delay in reacting or has the focus and attention of an average driver.
- Perception-reaction and drinking
If you were drinking alcohol, your perception-reaction time is typically slower and it will generally take you longer, if at all, to perceive a danger and to timely react to it. If you are impaired and are speeding, the distance before you stop your car will increase. Combine speed and alcohol and the chances of a collision are substantially increased.
Alcohol-related car accident fatalities account for 30% of all traffic deaths in the US. About 20% of those killed were under the age of 14. Drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 are consistently the largest group driving with a BAC of at least 0.08% who were involved in a fatal crash.
It only takes common sense to recognize that speeding along with drinking greatly increases your chances of being in an accident. Motorists need to realize that speeding does not make a significant difference in the time it takes to arrive anywhere. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, then leave earlier. If you are anxious about the time, pull over and call the person you are meeting and tell them you will be a few minutes late rather than risking an accident.
If you have been drinking:
- Do not drive at all.
- Many of us think we are capable of driving but see above.
- If you know you will be drinking, call a cab or ride share company like Uber or Lyft to take you out and to drive you home, or designate a sober driver
- Do not let friends drive if they have been drinking, regardless of their assertions that they are fine, or their calculations about how sober they are.
- Review the above speeding facts about stopping distances and perception-reaction times
- Know the consequences of a DUI conviction—loss of license, hefty fines, legal fees, increased insurance premiums, possible jail or prison time, serious injuries or death to you or someone else, and a criminal record
- Drive defensively. Others may be driving impaired or distracted.
Damages in a Car Accident Claim
If you were injured by a speeding motorist or someone under the influence, call an experienced car accident lawyer to represent your interests and to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve. Your damages may include:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Cost of physical therapy
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Spousal claim for loss of consortium
If a fatality occurred, your car accident lawyer can advise you on the steps to take for filing a wrongful death claim. In Massachusetts, the appointed or designated administrator for the decedent’s estate files the claim on behalf of the surviving, immediate family members who may collect:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earnings and value of benefits over the decedent’s working life
- Funeral and burial costs
- Pain and suffering if the decedent was conscious and experienced pain before succumbing
- Loss of love, companionship, guidance and counsel
- Punitive damages if the defendant was grossly negligent
Call the offices of car accident lawyer Tim Houten of Middleton. For over 30 years, Mr. Houten has represented the interests of injured victims of car accidents throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and obtained millions of dollars in compensation. Trust your accident injury claim to someone who has vigorously fought insurance companies and large corporations to get you the compensation you deserve. Call him today for a free analysis of your injury claim.