It’s fair to say that every driver has been guilty of speeding at one time or another. Yet, excessive speeding and going too fast for road or weather conditions is a dangerous driving habit that leads to serious accidents and life-threatening injuries. Each year, NYPD officers issue more than 10,000 speeding tickets across the boroughs, many of which go to Queens drivers.
A portion of these speeding drivers also cause accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities. In one month alone, drivers traveling at an unsafe speed caused more than 45 accidents in Queens. This only includes highway accidents, not those that occurred at intersections.
If you have sustained injuries in a Queens speeding accident, New York law permits you to seek compensation for damages from the driver who caused the accident after you exhaust any personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. It’s in your best interest to consult with an experienced Queens speeding accident lawyer who can guide you through the claims process and help you file a lawsuit if necessary.
Until you get the chance to meet with an attorney, this guide provides preliminary information about aspects of Queens speeding accidents, such as the dangers of speeding, who typically speeds, why they speed, and how an attorney can help you receive compensation for your injuries.
The Dangers of Speeding
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that speeding contributes to at least one-quarter of all traffic deaths across the nation. Some years, the NHTSA estimates more than 30 percent. Some habitual speeders argue they are still safely operating their vehicle. However, this is a myth. Speeding is a dangerous habit that increases the risk of accidents and injury.
The most common dangers of speeding include:
- The faster a driver operates his or her vehicle, the more difficult it is to retain control. The same is true whether a driver is operating a car, truck, or motorcycle.
- Speeding reduces the effectiveness of seat belts, airbags, and other safety features on vehicles, increasing the chances for fatal injury.
- Driving safely requires drivers to absorb, process, and react to the information they receive while operating a vehicle. Speeding makes it more difficult to absorb information, especially at intersections and other critical areas. Drivers who do not get the information they need are more likely to cause a speeding accident.
- Speeding increases the amount of distance a driver needs to stop or slow down. This makes it more difficult to slow or stop for accidents, animals, pedestrians, or other road hazards. Drivers who do not allow enough stopping distance because they are speeding sometimes cause accidents at intersections.
- Even when speed does not directly lead to an accident, it almost always makes an accident worse. Speed increases the force of impact during a collision, which results in more property damage, more severe injuries, and a higher chance of suffering fatal injuries.
According to the National Safety Council, speeding is most dangerous on wet, icy, or muddy roads. Speed is a factor in fatal traffic accidents for approximately 40 percent of drivers on snowy, slushy, and icy roads, and roads with standing water.
Some Queens Drivers Speed More Than Others
All drivers speed at some time or another, but some groups are more likely to speed and cause a speeding accident than others.
Data from the NHTSA reveals these groups are most likely to speed:
- Males are more likely to speed than females regardless of which age group you examine.
- Younger drivers speed more than older drivers. Almost 20 percent of females age 15 to 20 were speeding when a traffic crash occurred compared to 30 percent of males in the same age group.
- According to the NHTSA, drivers involved in a fatal speeding accident are more likely to have previous offenses on their driving records, such as speeding tickets, DUI convictions, license suspension, or license revocation.
- Drunk drivers often speed. About 40 percent of drivers involved in fatal speed-related accidents show evidence of alcohol in their system, more than double the amount of drivers involved in crashes where speeding was not a factor.
- Drivers involved in a car accident while driving at night are far more likely to be speeding than those involved in fatal speeding accidents that occur during the day.
Examples of Recent Queens Speeding Accidents
Speeding and speeding accidents are frequent occurrences on Queens’ roads and highways. Examples of recent speeding accidents in Queens include:
NY Daily News: Speeding Driver Crashes into Tree
A 24-year-old woman, who was allegedly speeding, lost control and slammed into a tree in South Ozone Park near JFK International Airport. More than 100 first responders pitched in to help get trapped occupants out of the vehicle. Ultimately, the driver was the only survivor; the two women and man riding with her died. The accident occurred about two blocks from where the Belt Parkway frontage road merges into North Conduit Boulevard, an area plagued with speeding.
NY Post: Speeding Driver Crashes into Overpass Support Pillar
A 20-year-old driver suspected of racing his car on the Belt Parkway crashed into an overpass support pillar after losing control. The concrete pillar was near 150th street. Emergency response teams rushed the driver and his passenger to Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, where the passenger was pronounced dead.
NY Daily News: Teen Driver Speeds into Tree and Dies
A 16-year-old Queens driver died only seven blocks from his home when he lost control of his sports car. Authorities suspect he was speeding. Allegedly, he sped through two stop signs and almost hit a pedestrian before losing control. The vehicle crashed into several trees, ripping it in half and ejecting the vehicle’s driver. The accident occurred along 80th Avenue near 265th Street in Glen Oaks. The teen suffered a massive head injury and died later at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.
These recent Queens speeding accidents only involved one vehicle, but plenty of other Queens speeding accidents include two or more vehicles, and sometimes motorcyclists and pedestrians also suffer accident injuries.
Motivations for Speeding on Queens Roads and Highways
The NHTSA continuously collects and analyzes data about traffic accidents to learn how to make roads safer. Their research about aggressive driving and speeding reveals common motivations for speeding, which include:
New York City is notorious for its traffic congestion. Queens drivers who do not have patience with slower speeds sometimes speed and weave in and out of traffic to get ahead of slower-moving vehicles.
Different people have different obligations and demands. When someone runs behind for a class, an appointment, work, a business meeting, or another obligation, they often speed to make up time, so they aren’t late. Parents who transport their kids to and from school or extracurricular activities are also guilty of speeding when they are running late.
Driving a vehicle creates a social bubble for motorists that promotes feelings of detachment and anonymity. Drivers have no concern about how their behavior behind the wheel impacts others because others are strangers. These feelings eliminate pressure that typically motivates people to conform to social norms about behavior. Drivers with a strong sense of detachment sometimes choose to speed because they do not feel the need to conform to traffic safety norms and regulations.
Disregard for Rule of Law
From the moment a person gets their driver’s license, they know speeding is illegal and sometimes leads to tragic traffic crashes. Yet, some drivers do not care about the safety of others on the road or their own safety. This blatant disregard for traffic regulations motivates some drivers to speed and break other traffic rules.
As mentioned above, many drivers involved in speeding accidents have alcohol and/or illegal drugs in their system. Controlled substances impair a person’s judgment and sometimes promote a false sense of personal security. Even impaired drivers who attempt to follow the speed limit might not have the capacity to maintain control of their speed.
Teen and young adult drivers are especially vulnerable to peer pressure when they are behind the wheel. Friends in the vehicle sometimes pressure the driver to race other cars or trucks or excessively speed. Drivers who succumb to this peer pressure risk causing a dangerous speeding accident.
Those Involved in Queens Speeding Accidents Face Severe Injuries
Speeding leads to dangerous and deadly traffic crashes because it increases the impact of the collision. High-impact car accidents cause the most severe injuries and have the biggest chance of leading to fatalities. Those involved in Queens speeding accidents face these severe injuries.
Speeding accident victims can suffer multiple fractures or crushed bones. These types of breaks typically require one or more reconstructive surgeries. Even after surgery, some accident victims will struggle with pain and discomfort for the rest of their lives. Those who suffer from crushed limbs risk amputation.
The impact of a speeding accident often leads to direct or indirect head trauma, resulting in brain injuries. Those who suffer brain injuries, regardless of severity, sometimes face a wide range of long-term consequences. Depending on the location of the brain injury and its severity, speeding accident victims might struggle with cognitive functions, motor functions, and personality changes.
Neck and Back Injuries
It’s common for accident victims to suffer head and back injuries, but speeding accident victims risk the worst of these injuries. Mild neck and back injuries include sprains, strains, and other soft tissue injuries that often heal completely. The impact of a speeding accident can lead to broken or slipped vertebrae. Accident victims also face injury to their spinal cord, sometimes resulting in permanent paralysis in some or all of the body.
Internal Organ Damage
Treacherous speeding accidents often lead to major internal injuries. Something as seemingly harmless as a few broken ribs can puncture the lungs and other internal organs. Internal injuries can also occur from puncture wounds that occurred during the crash. Internal injuries are often life-threatening. Those who survive are fortunate.
Recovering Loss After a Queens Speeding Accident
New York is a no-fault insurance state, which means that when people are involved in a car accident, they cannot automatically go after the at-fault driver. All drivers who register a vehicle must carry a minimum of $50,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. Fault is not required to receive PIP benefits, so each person injured in a Queens speeding accident must file a claim under their PIP policy to recover losses. Motorcyclists are the exception to this. PIP coverage extends to cyclists and pedestrians, but not to those who ride motorcycles.
Losses from a severe speeding accident quickly meet or exceed minimum PIP limits. Once this occurs, accident victims can file a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company and file a Queens car accident lawsuit if necessary. Additionally, PIP coverage does not compensate speeding accident victims for non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.
If you prevail in your car accident claim or a court rules in your favor, you might receive compensation for these damages related to your Queens speeding accident and injuries:
- Medical treatment costs including ambulance service, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, surgery, diagnostic imaging, lab tests, follow-up doctor visits, and transportation costs to and from the doctor/hospital
- Estimated future medical expenses for ongoing care and treatment due to a permanent condition or disability
- Rehabilitation costs for working with one or more specialists that help accident victims physically and emotionally cope with their injuries, such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and speech therapists
- Lost income from missing work due to injuries and hospitalization
- Lost earning capacity when a Queens speeding accident causes severe injuries that prevent someone from returning to their job or seeking future employment
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
- Loss of consortium if applicable
- Scarring and disfigurement
Your Queens car accident lawyer can review the elements of your claim and advise you on the types of damages that apply to your situation. Contact Jacoby & Meyers, LLP for a free initial consultation today.