The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a crash to be speeding-related if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.
Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2008, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 11,674 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.
The total economic cost of crashes was estimated at $230.6 billion in 2000. Motor vehicle crashes cost society an estimated $7,300 per second. In 2000, the cost of speeding-related crashes was estimated to be $40.4 billion-- $76,865 per minute or $1,281 per second.
Speeding reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.
For drivers involved in fatal crashes, young males are the most likely to be speeding. The relative proportion of speeding-related crashes to all crashes decreases with increasing driver age. In 2008, 37 percent of male drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old and 21- to 24-year-old age groups who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
Alcohol and speeding are clearly a deadly combination. Alcohol is prevalent for drivers involved in speeding-related crashes. In 2008, 41 percent of drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter (g/dL) or higher involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared with only 15 percent of drivers with a BAC of .00 g/dL involved in fatal crashes.
In 2008, 35 percent of all motorcycle riders involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 23 percent for passenger car drivers, 19 percent for light-truck drivers and 8 percent for large-truck drivers.
In 2008, only 47 percent of speeding passenger vehicle drivers under age 21 who were involved in fatal crashes were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash. In contrast, 71 percent of non-speeding drivers in the same age group were restrained.
In 2008, 22 percent of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes had an invalid drivers license at the time of the crash, compared with 11 percent of non-speeding drivers.
Speeding was a factor in 29 percent of the fatal crashes that occurred on dry roads in 2008 and in 35 percent of those that occurred on wet roads. Speeding was a factor in 54 percent of the fatal crashes that occurred when there was snow or slush on the road and in 59 percent of those that occurred on icy roads.
Speeding was involved in nearly one-third of the fatal crashes that occurred in construction and maintenance zones in 2008.
In 2008, 88 percent of speeding-related fatalities occurred on roads that were not Interstate highways.
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