Recently, there have been a number of stories in the news regarding traffic fatalities directly related to high-speed driving. Here in South Florida, in fact, two men in their early 20s were just killed in the first week of the New Year, when the Eagle Talon they were in lost control on a curve, flew off the road, and collided with a tree in Coral Springs. Police believe speed was a causative factor in this Broward County car accident.
Speed has also been found to be the primary cause of the deadly November automobile accident of "Fast & Furious" star Paul Walker and his financial advisor Roger Rodas. No debris or damage to the road surface was found, no alcohol or drugs were found in the men's systems, and no mechanical issues with the car were evident before the accident - but witnesses reported that the Porche Carrera GT that Walker and Rodas were in was likely traveling approximately 100 miles per hour at the time of the accident, along a stretch of road with a 45 mph speed limit.
Speed-related accidents and young drivers
One demographic of drivers most likely to be involved in a speed-related car accident is teen drivers. Speeding is implicated in over 30% of fatal car crashes involving young people in the United States. Even more disturbing is the statistic that over 50% of fatality accidents involving teens with 3+ passengers are at least partially the result of high-speed driving. Many of these accidents occur after dark, and are often single-vehicle crashes, where the driver simply loses control of the vehicle and runs off the road.
Why speed can be deadly
When you increase the speed at which a car is traveling, you increase the distance it continues to travel from the moment the driver notices an obstacle (or curve) until he or she can react. Speed also increases the "crash energy," meaning that impacts are greater, making devastating injury and death more likely.
Car accidents that often involve speeding include:
Vehicle Rollover - Many of these turn out to be fatal.
Single Vehicle Car Accident - Even the best drivers can lose control at high speeds.
Highway Car Accident - Accidents on The Florida Turnpike, Sawgrass Expressway and I-75 can result in the loss of lives due to the speed that vehicles regularly travel on these highways.
Intersection Accident - A driver usually increases speed to catch the light before it turns red.
Speeding is far too common
Unfortunately, speeding has become a commonly accepted behavior among drivers of all ages - but especially young drivers. A recent anonymous survey of drivers under the age of 50 showed that the vast majority admitted speeding on a regular basis, on a range of road types and no matter what the posted speed limit. With some states - including Florida - considering legislation to raise highway speed limits, to between 70 and 80 mph, this means that many drivers will likely be exceeding those limits as well, reaching 85 - 100 mph. With the established relationship between high speeds and deadly automobile accidents, this will lead to more traffic fatalities and devastating injuries.