It seems like hardly a day goes by that our Panama City injury firm doesn't hear about another tragic automobile accident on our local roadways. These accidents cause serious injury and significant property loss, and all too often they lead to a loss of human life. We believe it is our job to advocate for victims in two key ways: 1) by representing them in civil claims under state or federal law and, also, 2) by helping to prevent accidents to keep people from becoming victims in the first place. While it sometimes seems like too basic a factor to mention, speeding accidents are also all too common.
This weekend, as reported by the News Herald, the Florida Highway Patrol released the name of a young woman whose life was cut short by a car accident. On Friday night at around 11:30 P.M., 23-year-old Jessica Iwalani Kalma was driving east on Delwood Beach Road in a 2006 Dodge Charger. Police report she was travelling at a high speed when she failed to stop for the T-style intersection with Delwood Drive. The Charger passed through the intersection and crossed over Delwood Drive into the east shoulder area where it hit a magnolia tree before bursting into flames. The car fire consumed both the engine and passenger compartment. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which led to Kalma's death.
Whether it is a single car accident or a multicar pileup, speeding is a major cause of automobile crashes. The National Safety Council's Speeding webpage cites a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ("NHTSA") study finding speed is a factor in one of every three fatal crashes. This makes speeding the third most-common contributing factor in traffic crashes nationwide. However, unlike most other dangerous factors, like driving under the influence or failing to wear a seatbelt, the number of speeding-related crashes leading to injury or death has not fallen. Controlling speeding and reducing speeding-related accidents remains a problem for law and safety officials. The NHTSA considers a crash speeding-related if the driver is charged with a speeding offense or a responding officer indicates that racing, exceeding the posted speed limit, or driving too fast for road conditions contributed to the incident.
Speed studies reveal a telling fact: people are quick to name speeding by others as a safety threat, but the majority also admit they too speed when they drive. People seem to believe both that they won't get caught and that their own speeding habits are not dangerous. The numbers disagree. Over 13,000 lives are lost in speeding-related crashes each year. Crashes involving speeding cost society more than $40 billion annually, a statistic that translates into a cost of $76,000 for every minute "gained" by a speeding driver looking to shave time off a trip.
Speed is particularly dangerous in school zones, where compliance is poor, and work zones with speed being a component in 27% of fatal construction/maintenance zone crashes in 2005. Further, while overall speed is generally highest on highways, the vast majority of speeding deaths occur on roads other than interstate highways, including 47% on roads with a speed limit at 50 miles per hour or less, and over 20% on roads with a posted limit of 35 miles per hour or lower.
Our Panama City car accident attorney supports efforts to educate drivers about the danger of speeding. Enforcement, engineering efforts, and company policies can all enhance the effort to cut down on speeding, and thus reduce the number of speed-related accidents. If you are injured or lose a loved one as a result of another driver speeding on our area roadways, please call our team. A free consultation is the first step in recovering compensation.