The Effects of Speed Limits and Car Accidents

Attorneys Serving Victims of Speeding Drivers in MA and RI

Car accidents are one of the most common incidents that cause injury to drivers and passengers, and nearly every individual over the course of a lifetime will experience an accident on the road. Causes of car accidents come in a variety of forms, including driver error or impairment, hazardous weather conditions, distractions such as talking on the phone or texting while behind the wheel, and excessive speeding.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s research shows that speeding was the cause of nearly 29% of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2013. Driving at speeds above the stated, legal speed limit can lead to serious personal injury, including broken bones or limbs, mild to severe lacerations and post traumatic stress disorder for both drivers and passengers. To understand why speeding is among the leading causes of car accidents resulting in injury and death, it is necessary to analyze how changes in speed limits over time correlate to car accidents.

Increased Speed Limits Over Time

Substantial research has been conducted to review the correlation between the increase in speed limits on numerous major thoroughfares across the country over the last 20 years and car accident rates. For instance, the state of New York increased its speed limit on major roadways and highways from 55 miles per hour to 65 miles per hour in 1995. A study conducted on the speed limit increase in the New York concluded that there was no correlated increase in the number of car accidents after the increase was implemented. There was, however, a greater level of injury sustained in car accidents that took place on roadways with increased speed limits.

Similarly, a study completed in 2000 by the Automobile Club of Southern California found that a similar increase in the speed limit, from 55 miles per hour to 65 miles per hour, did not increase the number of accidents within the state over a five year period, but did show a higher chance of severe to fatal injuries at higher speed limits. A number of other statewide studies have been performed with similar results.

Speed Limits and Severity of Car Accidents

Thus while the number of car accidents may remain steady when speed limits are increased, the data demonstrate that higher speed limits lead to more severe accidents, as concluded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A car traveling at a stated speed limit of 70 miles per hour that collides with another vehicle will have a much harder time coming to a complete and abrupt stop than if the car was traveling at 55 or 60 miles per hour. Speeding leads to greater velocities, which lays the foundation for higher incidents of fatalities on the road. Going faster than the state speed limit can be especially dangerous when weather conditions are not ideal (heavy fog, rain or snow and ice), or on local roads where traffic entering or exiting the road may not have sufficient space to merge. All in all, drivers who exceed the posted speed limits have an increased chance of causing an accident that would result in serious personal injury or even death.

Speak to a Rhode Island Accident Attorney Today

At the Bottaro Law Firm, LLC, we understand the impact that a car accident caused by speeding can have on your livelihood and well-being. We work with our car accident injury clients to ensure they receive sufficient compensation for medical treatment and other damages incurred. If you have been involved in a car accident due to speeding and have questions about your right to compensation, contact us today to discuss your case.