Manhattan Speeding Accidents

If asked, most drivers would be hard-pressed to say they have never traveled too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit. Almost all drivers speed at some time, and some drivers speed all the time. Manhattan does not have endless miles of open roadway with few other vehicles around for miles, so speeding has consequences. Drivers who choose to speed in Manhattan put others on the road at risk for accident and injury. About 20 traffic accidents in Manhattan occurred in one month because drivers were traveling at an unsafe speed.

If you have suffered injuries in a Manhattan speeding accident, New York law allows you to take action against the driver who caused the accident to seek compensation for your injuries. An experienced Manhattan car accident attorney can help, even in a no-fault insurance state like New York.

Until you have the chance to discuss your case with a lawyer, this post discusses Manhattan speeding accidents, including the characteristics of speeders, motivations for speeding, and how a Manhattan car accident lawyer can help you recover damages after a speeding accident.

Why Is Speeding so Dangerous?

Depending on the year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that speeding contributes to at least 25 percent of all traffic fatalities to as much as one-third. Many who speed believe they are still driving safely, but speeding is dangerous and sometimes leads to severe and deadly traffic crashes.

The dangers of speeding include:

  • Speeding makes it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles, including heavy trucks and motorcycles, which require additional skills to operate.
  • Auto manufacturers create safety features based on average speeds and speed limits. Speeding reduces the effectiveness of airbags, seat belts, and other safety features, increasing the likelihood of injury or death during a crash.
  • Drivers who speed have less time to react to their surroundings. Drivers must process other traffic, intersections, road signs, and other information to drive safely. The faster a vehicle travels, the more difficult it is for a driver to take in this information and react appropriately.
  • Excess speed requires drivers to slow or stop sooner to avoid a road hazard or accident. Failure to allow for increased stopping distance can lead to dangerous broadside collisions in intersections, and dangerous rear-end collisions in traffic.
  • An increase in speed also increases the force upon impact during a traffic crash. More force during a traffic crash increases property damage, increases the likelihood of severe injuries, and increases the chances of those involved dying due to accident injuries.

Speeding is especially dangerous when roads are wet, icy, or muddy.

In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that speed is a factor in fatal traffic accidents:

  • for 37 percent of drivers on snowy and slushy roads
  • for 37 percent of drivers on roads with standing water
  • for 41 percent of drivers on icy roads

Fortunately, Manhattan does not have very many mud, dirt, or gravel roads because they factor into fatal accidents for approximately 45 percent of all drivers. Ice, rain, and slush, however, frequently coat Manhattan streets, and if people don’t drive carefully in those conditions, they can cause accidents.

Manhattan Drivers Who Speed Have Certain Characteristics

Drivers from all walks of life speed, but some are more likely to speed and get into a speed-related accident than others.

According to NHTSA data, these groups include:

  • Males. As a group, males are more likely to be involved in a speed-related traffic accident than females, regardless of age.
  • Young drivers. As drivers age, the likelihood they will be involved in a speeding accident decreases. Approximately 30 percent of males age 15 to 20 and 18 percent of females involved in fatal accidents were speeding when the accident occurred.
  • Repeat offenders. The NHTSA reports that those involved in fatal speed-related accidents are more likely to have a previous accident on their record, a previous DUI conviction, a previous license suspension or revocation, and/or a previous speeding conviction.
  • Drunk drivers. Almost 40 percent of drivers involved in fatal speeding accidents had alcohol in their system at the time of the accident, compared to 19 percent of drivers involved in accidents where speeding was not a factor.
  • Night drivers. Drivers involved in a fatal car crash at night are more likely to speed than those involved in fatal daytime crashes.

Why Do Manhattan Drivers Speed?

Manhattan drivers choose to speed for various reasons.

According to the NHTSA, common reasons people choose to speed include:

  • Heavy traffic. Drivers in Manhattan’s heavy traffic sometimes try to make up time by speeding or simply become impatient with vehicles traveling slower, so they speed to overtake other vehicles.
  • Feeling rushed. Many people have demanding schedules with family, work, and personal obligations. Those who run late for an appointment, work, school, or other obligations often speed to get to their destination on time.
  • Anonymity. Drivers have a sense of detachment and feel as if they are anonymous when in their own vehicle. They choose to speed because they do not feel pressured to conform to road rules, primarily because they have no fear of ever seeing others who share the road again.
  • Disregard for safety. Even though people know that speeding breaks the law and can lead to dangerous accidents, some drivers still choose to speed because of a disregard for their own safety, disregard for the safety of others, and disregard for the law.
  • Peer pressure. Young drivers, especially teenagers, sometimes succumb to peer pressure when they have friends in the car. Other teens sometimes encourage drivers to speed or race other vehicles, leading to dangerous accidents on Manhattan’s roads.
  • Alcohol or drug use. Consuming alcohol or using illegal drugs before getting behind the wheel impairs drivers. Impaired drivers sometimes find it difficult to control their speed, and they have comparatively poor judgment.

Speeding Related Accidents Have Decreased in Manhattan

Fortunately, speeding accidents in Manhattan have decreased over the last several years. New York City reports that excessive speed is one of the leading factors in severe traffic accidents throughout the city. In 2014, New York City initiated a Vision Zero street safety program like many other cities throughout the United States, and concerns about speeding were at the top of the list during community workshops and town hall meetings. New York City uses various tools for speed management in Manhattan and throughout the other boroughs. They include:

Speed Cameras

Speed camera enforcement has been a critical tool in reducing Manhattan speeding accidents. The city reports that in one year alone, speeding at camera locations dropped more than 71 percent, and injuries from speeding accidents decreased by almost 17 percent. Additionally, approximately two out of three drivers who received a speed camera violation did not receive another ticket within the same calendar year. New York City installed 60 new cameras each month in 2020, making New York City’s speed camera program the largest in the nation.

Speed Bumps

Since 2014, New York City has installed approximately 2,100 speed bumps to reduce the speed of motor vehicles in critical areas. It has also installed several dozen speed cushions, which they use when a traditional speed bump doesn’t work. Cushions require vehicles to slow down, too, and reduce the number of speed-related accidents in Manhattan.

Additional NYPD Enforcement

NYPD officers enforce the speed limit, especially in excessive speeding cases that endanger others and might lead to accidents. Those who receive traditional speeding tickets can expect increased financial penalties if they drive fast enough to warrant a stop by the NYPD. With a focus on reducing speeding and related accidents, the NYPD has almost doubled the number of speeding tickets they issue each year since implementing Vision Zero. In one recent year, they handed out almost 150,000 speeding citations.

Reduced Speed Limits

Changes in speed limits have also helped reduce Manhattan speeding accidents and reduce the severity of damage and injuries when they do occur. The city reduced the default speed limit to 25 miles per hour in 2014. Since the implementation of Vision Zero, New York City installed more than 5,000 new speed limit signs, which also alert drivers about speed camera enforcement.

Street Redesigns

New York City has used various street redesign strategies in Manhattan and throughout the other boroughs to reduce speeding and prevent speeding accidents. Examples include reducing the size of lanes to eliminate excess, or reserving the excess for pedestrians and cyclists. Since 2104, the city has completed more than 650 redesign projects at priority intersections and corridors.

Manhattan Speeding Accidents Lead to Severe Injuries

As mentioned above, speeding leads to the most severe accidents because it increases the accident’s impact. Severe accidents lead to more property damage, life-threatening injuries, and a greater likelihood of death. Fortunately, the speed limits and traffic on Manhattan’s streets keep accident speeds lower than other parts of the city. Aside from Henry Hudson Parkway and Manhattan’s other peripheral highways, speed limits are 25.

When drivers speed and hit another vehicle, motorcycle, pedestrian, or cyclists, they can cause the following serious injuries:

  • Multiple fractures and crushed bones
  • Head traumas, including traumatic brain injuries
  • Neck injuries including soft tissue damage, spinal cord damage, and/or broken vertebrae
  • Back injuries, including fractured vertebrae and herniated discs
  • Chest injuries such as broken ribs and damage to the lungs and heart
  • Major internal organ damage
  • Spinal cord injuries that could result in paralysis for life
  • Amputation
  • Dislocation injuries

Seeking Compensation for Damages After a Manhattan Speeding Accident

Drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists who suffer injuries in a speeding accident have the right under New York law to seek compensation from the at-fault driver. However, those who have New York’s mandatory no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) insurance must file a claim under their own policy first. Once the minimum $50,000 policy limit is met or exceeded, car accident victims can file an insurance claim with the other driver’s carrier and file a claim if necessary.

Each speeding accident is different, and the financial outcome depends on the circumstances of the crash.

Those who have a viable claim and prevail in their speeding accident case could receive compensation for the following from a settlement or jury award:

  • Medical expenses including ambulance service and emergency room treatment at the nearest Manhattan hospital, surgery, X-rays, lab tests, hospitalization, doctor visits, and transportation expenses
  • Estimated future medical expenses for additional surgeries, ongoing treatment, and/or care in a long-term nursing care facility
  • Rehabilitation expenses for specialized treatment such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, mental health services, or any other treatment that helps accident victims physically or emotionally cope with their injuries
  • Lost wages from missing work due to hospitalization and recovery
  • Estimated future lost wages when speeding accident injuries are too severe for someone to return to work or get a job in the future
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Scarring and disfigurement

Your attorney can advise you on which damages apply to your specific circumstances. Also, family members who lost a loved one in a Manhattan speeding accident might be eligible to seek damages in a wrongful death lawsuit after a Manhattan speeding accident.

Getting the Legal Help You Need After a Manhattan Speeding Accident

Personal injury attorney Andrew Finkelstein managing partner of Jacoby and Meyers LLP

Andrew G. Finkelstein, Car Accident Attorney

If a careless driver was speeding and caused you injuries, you deserve compensation for your injuries and how they impacted your life. Severe accident injuries quickly eat up PIP policy benefits, and you might need additional funding for treatment. An experienced Manhattan accident attorney can help you through the claims process and help you seek damages beyond your PIP policy.

Accident injury lawyers help their clients in many ways, including:

  • Evaluating the facts of a claim to determine its viability
  • Investigating a speeding accident to gather evidence that helps build a strong case against the driver
  • Communicating with insurance companies to protect clients from predatory, sometimes ethically questionable tactics
  • Negotiating settlement agreements for clients that are typically more than what a client could secure without legal help
  • Advocating for clients in the courtroom when settlement negotiations fail and parties must go to trial and litigate