In New York and across the nation, motorists routinely drive faster than the posted speed limit or too fast for road conditions. As normal as drivers treat speeding, it is exceedingly dangerous. Victims of speeding drivers pay a heavy price.
In this post, we explore the dangers of speeding, who is most likely to speed, and how a Hempstead car accident lawyer can help you recover damages if a speeding driver injured you.
The Unacceptable Dangers of Speeding in Hempstead
It was a horrifying tragedy: Recently, an injured eight-year-old boy watched his mother die on Meadowbrook Parkway in Hempstead after the vehicle that they were riding in was rear-ended by a vehicle that authorities say was driven by a drunk driver at about 100 miles per hour at the time of the crash. The drunk driver now faces criminal charges, but prosecution alone cannot deliver the justice the speeding drunk driver’s victims deserve. New York law also entitles them to significant compensation.
Speeding is so dangerous because:
- It increases the risk of a driver losing control of a vehicle.
- It decreases the effectiveness of a vehicle’s safety features—including the steel frame, seatbelts, and airbags—to work less effectively.
- It reduces the amount of time that a driver has to see and perceive a hazard in the roadway.
- It lengthens the distance is required to come to a safe stop after the driver sees and perceives danger and presses on the brakes.
- It dramatically increases the force of the impact and the severity of damage caused by a collision. The risk of death increases exponentially with every mile-per-hour increase in speed. At 55 miles per hour, drivers have an 80 percent higher chance of dying in a crash than drivers traveling at 25 miles per hour.
Speeding becomes even more dangerous in inclement weather, because slick road surfaces further lengthen stopping distance and heighten the risk of a loss of control. Speeding on dry roads is a factor in 16 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents. However, speeding accounts for 37 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents that occur on snow or slush, or on roadways where there is standing or moving water. 41 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents that occur on icy or frosted roads are the result of speeding, as well as 45 percent on mud, dirt, or gravel roads.
Some People Speed More Than Others in Hempstead
Any driver may drive too fast. However, some people are more likely to speed than others. Included in these groups are:
- Males. Male drivers of all ages are more likely than females to get into a fatal, speeding-related crash.
- Young drivers. 31 percent of male drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old age bracket who were involved in a fatal motor vehicle crash were speeding at the time of the crash, along with 18 percent of female drivers in this age group.
- Impaired drivers. Alcohol impairment was found in 37 percent of the drivers involved in speed-related fatal crashes, as compared to 16 percent of drivers involved in non-speeding crashes.
- Repeat offenders: Drivers who are involved in speed-related fatal accidents are more likely to have a previously recorded crash in their driving history, a previous conviction for driving while impaired, a previously recorded conviction for speeding, or a previously recorded suspension or revocation of their license.
- Motorcycle riders: More motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding than drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes.
- Nighttime drivers: Fatal accidents related to speed are far more likely to happen during hours of darkness than they are during the daytime.
Why People Speed in Hempstead
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that people choose to speed because of:
- Traffic congestion: Many drivers respond to traffic through aggressive driving behaviors such as speeding, erratic lane changes, tailgating, and running red lights.
- Running late: Time pressures give drivers a reason to speed. Running late for work, an appointment, or an event is a common reason cited by drivers for driving too fast.
- Anonymity: Drivers feel safe within the isolated bubbles of their own vehicles, which can make speeding seem like a victimless traffic violation, even though it isn’t.
- Disregard for others and the law: Despite knowing that speeding is dangerous, illegal, and can cause harm to self or others, some drivers still choose to drive too fast simply because they like it. Studies indicate that these people often also have trouble obeying rules and respecting the safety and welfare of other people in other areas of their lives.
- Peer pressure: Particularly with teenage drivers, the chances of getting into an accident are higher when there are other teens in the vehicle. This is a result of the distraction that having a friend in the car creates, which is especially dangerous when combined with driving skills that are still developing. The element of peer pressure is also a factor in why teen drivers choose to speed. This pressure can come not only from the teens in the car, but from passengers of other vehicles who may encourage the teen driver to race or drive faster than the conditions of the road allow.
- Alcohol impairment: Alcohol creates deficits in the skills needed to drive safely. One of the deficits created by impairment is the ability to control one’s speed. Judgment is also affected, making it less likely for a driver to understand the consequences of his or her choice to speed.
Legal Liability for Hempstead Speed-Related Traffic Accidents
Hempstead drivers who speed put themselves and others at unreasonable risk of serious and fatal injury. Under New York law, that makes the drivers potentially liable to victims injured in a speeding-related crash.
Speeding drivers are not the only ones who might face legal liability to crash victims, however.
Others may also have a legal obligation to answer for the speeding driver’s conduct, including:
- Employers of drivers who get into a speeding-related accident while driving a vehicle for work. In New York, employers have a general obligation to answer for their employees’ actions, especially if the employers knew the employee tended to speed.
- Bars and restaurants that served alcohol to a driver who was visibly intoxicated or under 21, and who then caused a speeding-related drunk driving accident.
- Automotive manufacturers whose defective cars or car parts contributed to the driver losing control and crashing at high speed.
- Others whose decisions or actions led to an unreasonable danger of a speeding-related accident. For example, even a city government could face legal liability for failing to take reasonable measures to regulate speed on a dangerous stretch of road where a speeding-related crash occurred.
Talk to an experienced Hempstead car accident injury attorney today about who may owe you compensation for injuries you suffered in a speeding-related accident.
Determining a Safe Speed on Hempstead’s Roads
A common argument by many people who choose to speed on roadways in New York and throughout the U.S. is that the speed limits are too slow.
To understand how to determine the safe speed for a particular roadway, you should first understand the several different types of speed limits:
- Statutory speed limits: Statutory speed limits are speed limits that are established by state legislators for specific types of roads. For example, a state might set its statutory speed limit in residential areas and school zones as 25 miles per hour, or set a speed limit of 70 miles per hour on rural interstate roadways. This is the speed that all roads of that type will be set to unless a local municipality chooses to reduce that speed limit in certain areas.
- Posted speed limits: Also known as regulatory speed limits, posted speed limits are speeds that are posted on a sign along the roadway. This speed limit could be the same as a statutory limit or the posted speed can vary from the statutory speed to meet a specific purpose or to slow traffic down in a specific area of a municipality.
- Special condition speed limits: Local government officials can create a special speed limit for certain locations or events to slow traffic down due to a potentially hazardous situation. For example, a school zone is a special condition speed limit that forces traffic to slow down for the safety of children and parents who are crossing the street. A work zone is a special condition speed limit that slows traffic down through construction areas where people are working or operating heavy equipment near the road.
- Variable speed limits: Variable speed limits are usually noted by digital signage and change the speed limit in an area during a certain time for a specific purpose. An example of this would be a variable speed limit of 10 miles per hour under the typically posted speed limit during inclement weather.
- Advisory speeds: Advisory speeds are non-regulated reductions in speed in an isolated area of a roadway, such as suggested speed limits during bad weather conditions. The purpose of advisory speeds is to let drivers know a safe traveling speed for the condition ahead.
Traffic engineers determine what constitutes a safe driving speed by collecting and analyzing data that includes:
- The average speed of motorists on the roadway during normal conditions.
- Traffic volume.
- The type of roadway, such as interstate, rural highway, or residential.
- Roadway features, including curves, hills, and the number of travel lanes.
- Roadway setting, such as urban, suburban, or rural.
- The number of driveways or intersections connecting to the roadway.
- Hazards on the roadway such as on-street parking, or heavy pedestrian or bicycle use.
- The condition of the pavement on the road.
- How far in the distance a person can see when traveling on the roadway.
- Previous crash history on that particular area of the road.
Contrary to popular belief, the federal government is not involved in establishing speed limits, at least not directly. Setting speed limits is the responsibility of state and local officials. Before a road is built, engineers will select a design speed and construct the road to be driven at that speed.
Once a road is built, engineers will monitor the posted speed to ensure that it is appropriate. One of the common ways this is done is by evaluating the average speed at which 85 percent of the drivers using the roadway are traveling. The 85th percentile theory assumes that the majority of drivers will choose the appropriate speed to travel based on the conditions of the road and that this selected speed should be accommodated.
Lawyers for Hempstead speeding-related crash victims will often rely on studies and data to explain how the driver who caused the accident had traveled at an unreasonably dangerous speed.
Injured by a High-Speed Accident in Hempstead?
Victims of Hempstead speeding-related traffic accidents often have the right to receive significant compensation for their injuries and losses.
By taking legal action with the help of an experienced Hempstead motor vehicle accident injury attorney, those victims may have the opportunity to recover financial compensation to pay for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- The cost of repairing or replacing the vehicle that was damaged in the accident
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of the enjoyment of life
There is no guarantee that a Hempstead speeding-related accident victims will recover compensation in a lawsuit, but hiring an experienced Hempstead car accident injury attorney usually gives victims the best possible chance of obtaining the money they deserve.
To learn about your rights after suffering injuries in a Hempstead speeding-related traffic accident, contact an experienced Hempstead car accident injury attorney today for a free case evaluation.