It is an example of the difference between the rules we apply to others and those we apply to ourselves. Most people agree driving is a serious responsibility and that maintaining a proper speed is a key part of roadway safety. However, this knowledge doesn't always translate into action. While drivers understand that speeding increases the risk of serious traffic accidents, the same drivers speed on a regular basis, acting as if they are the exception and they can handle a higher speed without the risk it poses to everyone else.
Speed is being eyed as the primary factor behind a crash that killed a Panama City man, as reported by WMBB. The single-vehicle crash occurred at approximately 9 A.M. on Saturday near the Dupont Bridge on U.S. 98. Florida Highway Patrol officers say that Janie Williams, age 69, was travelling east at a high speed when she lost control, and her car left the road. She proceeded to hit a stop sign, guard rail, and two trees before coming to a rest. Although she was wearing a seatbelt, Williams died in the crash. FHP officials are still investigating the incident.
Travel any highway and it often appears as if drivers treat posted speeds as bare minimums. Such attitudes were documented in a 2012 report produced by the Governor's Highway Safety Association ("GHSA"). The paper noted that speeding was a factor in almost a full third of traffic fatalities. Despite improvements in almost all other safety indicators, including a 23% reduction in accidents involving an occupant's failure to wear a safety belt and a 3% decline in alcohol-related fatalities, the portion of traffic deaths involving speeding increased by 7% from 2000 to 2010. As the authors noted, "Speed remains the one highway safety area where progress has not been made in almost three decades."
During 2010, speeding was a factor in crashes that claimed 10,530 lives in the United States and Puerto Rico, 31% of the total traffic deaths for the year. GHSA study respondents were asked to identify key obstacles to improving speed-safety. 78% cited public indifference to speeding with 61% referencing a public belief that speed enforcement is primarily a revenue generation measure rather than one aimed at safety.
Others cited a lack of the staff and the funds to enforce speed restrictions; the GHSA Chair noted the resulting lack of enforcement made it hard to convince the driving public that speeding if truly a serious safety issue. One bright spot - a targeted effort in Washington State involving speed enforcement and education led to a nearly 45% reduction in the speed-related deaths statewide compared to the prior five-year average, an improvement that shows there is hope.
Speeding is dangerous, plain and simple. It should not be accepted as the norm and drivers should not presume that they are the exception to the rule. If another driver's careless speeding led to you or a loved one suffering injury, call us. We can help you get money damages from the person whose lead foot left you facing the tragic consequences.