Speeding is a Leading Cause of Car Wrecks
As drivers hit the road to go to work, school, the grocery store, or anywhere else, a host of distractions arise while driving to their destination. People find themselves speeding, even when they might not realize it. Others have the intention of speeding, whether they are running late or are impatient. Regardless of the reason, exceeding the speed limit puts your life and the lives of everyone else on the road in danger.
Traffic signs and speed limits exist for a reason. State governments (along with traffic engineers) set speed limits that allow people to reach their destination safely and as quickly as possible. The engineers have to balance both of these objectives, often using a speed study to examine the function, design, and practical use of a road. They look for how heavy or light traffic is (both commuter and local), how wide lanes are, if there are any curves, and much more.
As you can see, determining speed limits is an arduous process. Those making these decisions do not take them lightly. They are thorough with their research in order to come up with a speed that is efficient yet safe. When you speed, you put that safety at risk.
Speeding is a reckless and dangerous act that puts everyone on the road at risk. If you find yourself in a car wreck due to a speeding driver, contact the Dallas car accident attorneys at Shamieh Law and let us fight for you.
Speeding Accident Facts
One of the most common causes of car wrecks in Texas (and throughout the country) is speeding. It reduces your ability to react to your environment, which increases your risk of mistakes.
Not only is speeding breaking the law, but it also adds unnecessary risks to an already potentially dangerous task. Speeding:
- Increases your risk of losing control of your vehicle
- Reduces the effectiveness of the protection equipment in your vehicle
- Increases the stopping distance (the distance you need to safely stop to avoid hitting what’s in front of you) you need after perceiving danger
- Increases the severity of the crash and potential for a fatal car wreck
- Reduces reaction time
As you can see, speeding is extremely dangerous. Often, the results of these accidents are disastrous. Here are some essential facts about speeding to give you a clearer understanding of its dangers:
- In 2018, speeding caused 9,378
- 48% of speeding drivers in fatal crashes in 2018 were not wearing their seat belts.
- Speed-related car wrecks cost Americans $40.4 billion every year.
- Speeding played a factor in 31% of teen driver fatalities.
- Even a 10-mph increase in speed can increase your risk of an accident by 9.1%.
- In a survey, 42% of surveyed drivers did not consider going 10 mph over the speed limit to be speeding. Another 10% did not believe that going 20 mph over the limit was speeding either.
- In 2017, speeding was a factor in 203 fatal crashes in work zones.
- Teens are more likely to speed and allow a smaller following distance than adults.
Texas Speeding Laws
The State of Texas is no stranger to speeding. It is a primary factor in most car wrecks throughout the Lone Star State. To protect yourself and others on the road, it pays to have a basic understanding of Texas speeding laws.
First, there are two types of speeding laws in Texas:
- Basic Speeding Law: This law states that drivers must never drive at a speed greater than what is safe for the present conditions, regardless of what the speed limit says. For instance, driving 55 mph while it is sunny and dry out might be safe, but when the roads are icy, 55 mph could be dangerous, breaking the basic speeding law.
- Prima Facie Speed Limits: Many states use “absolute speed limits,” meaning if you go over the set speed limit, you broke the law. Texas has prima facie speed limits. These limits are essentially default limits. You must obey them unless other factors demand higher or lower speeds. They give drivers more leeway. If the driver is safe and driving only a few mph over the limit, it is legal if the weather is good and the traffic is light. Texas Transportation Code 545.352 provides these limits, some of which are:
- 30 mph in an urban district
- 15 mph in an alley
- 70 mph on a highway numbered by the state or the U.S. outside an urban district
- 60 mph on a highway not numbered by the state or the U.S. outside an urban district15 mph on a beach or a country road next to a beach
Those convicted of speeding will need to pay a fine and potentially court costs. These fines vary depending on the location, ranging from $130 to $300. The punishments for reckless driving, however, are far harsher.
According to Texas Transportation Code 545.401, a driver commits reckless driving if the driver “drives a vehicle in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.” This “willful or wanton disregard” is close to intent to cause harm. The driver was more than negligent. They understand the potential damage their actions could cause, yet they did it anyway.
Examples of reckless driving include:
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Street racing
- Evading law enforcement
- Texting and driving (or any other form of distracted driving)
These are just a handful of examples of reckless driving. In Texas, offenders can face fines not to exceed $200, up to 30 days in county jail, or both.
Reasons People Speed
There are a host of reasons why people speed. In some cases, people might not even realize they are speeding. Some of these reasons include:
- Running late for work, school, an appointment, or another scheduled obligation
- Driving while distracted, taking your attention off the road and your speed
- Traffic congestion
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Thrill-seeking, street racing, etc.
- Inexperience (younger drivers are more likely to speed)
- Medical emergencies (such as childbirth)
- Not knowing the posted speed limit
- Needing to use the restroom
When on the road, a driver has an obligation to protect themselves and other drivers. That means following traffic signs and speed limits. When they speed and cause a car accident, they breach this standard of duty. In these instances, you can hold those responsible for the damages you suffer. The Dallas car accident attorneys at Shamieh Law possess the skills and resources to secure the justice and compensation you deserve. Give us a call today to learn how we can help.