Car accidents happen for all different sorts of reasons – and most of them are preventable. One of the mostly frequently cited factors in traffic accidents is speeding. But despite the fact that many Americans believe speeding is a serious threat on the roadways, one in five recently admitted in a survey by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that they try to get where they’re going “as fast as possible.”
Nearly one-third of all traffic fatalities each year are the result of speeding, according to the NHTSA. Although the problem is nationwide, Georgia’s rate of speed-related fatalities is higher than the national average. The state Governor’s Office of Highway Safety reports that approximately two out of every 10 fatal crashes in the state involve drivers who were speeding or driving too fast for the conditions of the road. Many speed-related accidents occur in the Atlanta metro area, including Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb counties.
NHTSA’s National Survey of Speeding Attitudes and Behavior polled more than 6,100 U.S. households in an effort to understand why motorists speed and what they think of those who break the law. While almost all of them (91 percent) agreed that everyone should try to obey the speed limit because it’s the law, nearly one-quarter of respondents acknowledged that they speed “without knowing it” and enjoy the feeling of driving fast.
Speed-related crashes were more prevalent among young drivers. According to the report, more than one in 10 drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 said they were involved in at least one speed-related crash in the last five years compared to just four percent of the entire population.
Georgia lawmakers have consistently tried to put the brakes on speeding in the state. In 2010, the state enacted a SuperSpeeder law that increased penalties for high-risk offenders. Unfortunately, that year still yielded more than 200 speed-related fatalities in Georgia, which was 17 percent of all roadway deaths.
There is rarely a reason to drive above the speed limit of sufficient importance to justify the risk of injury to oneself and others created by speeding. Ambulances and fire trucks speed to save lives. But first responders receive special training on how to navigate through traffic when they’re rushing to an emergency. In addition, first responders have the benefit of sirens and flashing light to warn other drivers on the road that they need to stay clear.
Speed limits are not set arbitrarily. Traffic engineers determine safe maximum and minimum speed limits by looking at the type and design of roads, the surrounding environment, traffic volume, the purpose of the road, and existing crash data, among many other factors. The limits apply to roads in the most favorable conditions, with the expectation that drivers will adjust accordingly if the conditions are unfavorable, such as in inclement weather. When drivers disrespect those rules of the road, they should be held accountable for their actions when a crash occurs.
The sad truth is that many people – by their own admission – speed simply because they are in a hurry or enjoy driving fast. Yet nearly half of those polled believe that something should be done to reduce speeding. These are the contradictions that get people killed.
Georgia’s personal injury and wrongful death laws are in place to help victims and their families pursue compensation when a speeding driver’s recklessness harms them. It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as possible following an accident to determine if you have a legal claim.