Speeding is one of the leading causes of serious injuries and fatal car accidents in Washington and the United States as a whole. A large percentage of deaths and injuries such as broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injuries are due to drivers who exceed the speed limit. Speeding includes more than just exceeding a posted speed limit. Drivers who speed can cause serious or fatal car accidents if they drive too fast for weather conditions or too fast for traffic conditions.
Drivers in Vancouver and Battle Ground, WA have a duty to know the speed limits on the roads they drive on – whether the roads are residential roads, rural roads, state roads, or interstate highways. Speeding may injure or kill pedestrians and bicycle riders in addition to passengers and drivers.
How dangerous is speeding?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 12,300 people died in speeding accidents in the United States in 2021. Twenty-nine percent of all traffic fatalities in 2021 were due to speeding.
The Washington Traffic Commission reported that 709 people died in traffic accidents in Washington State in 2021. A third of these fatal accidents involved speeding. Six people died in Vancouver, Washington in 2021 due to speeding.
Why is speeding so dangerous?
The NHTSA states that speeding is dangerous because:
- Drivers have less control over their vehicles the faster their vehicles travel
- Safety equipment such as seatbelts and airbags are less effective at protecting drivers and passengers the faster the vehicle travels
- The faster a car travels, the more time and distance the vehicle needs to stop
- The severity of injuries increases as a vehicle’s speed increases
Cars that travel 60 mph are traveling nearly 90 feet per second. A lot can go wrong in those 90 seconds. In just a few seconds, a car can travel the length of a football field. Cars that speed are also less likely to be protected by roadside guardrails, median dividers, road shoulders, and other roadside features.
Speeding is a major reason why single-vehicle accidents occur. Speeding also makes it very difficult for other drivers to know how to react. Should they pull over into another lane to let the car pass? Will the speeding driver stop at a stop sign or a red light? This confusion can contribute to severe car accidents in Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington.
Speeding also increases the cost of fuel – which is why, in addition to safety, driving slower is the sensible way to travel.
Who do drivers in Vancouver speed?
No driver should speed. It’s always wiser to get to your destination a few minutes late or even hours late than to have your destination be a hospital. But what people should do and what they will do aren’t always the same.
The NHTSA states that some of the many reasons drivers speed include:
- Traffic congestion. Many drivers, when traffic is congested, speed, drive aggressively, switch lanes, and become agitated in order to travel just a little faster than everyone else on the road.
- Running late. Many drivers speed to get to work on time, drop their child off at school on time, make deliveries on time, or for a host of other work-related and personal reasons – none of which justify speeding.
- Disregard for the law. Some drivers speed just to show how fast their car can go or to be an annoyance to other drivers. As the NHTSA explains, driving a car is fairly anonymous – meaning that drivers often feel less constrained about pushing the limits of how fast they go because they think other drivers will never get to see them or know them personally.
Other common reasons for speeding in Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. These drivers usually have no idea how fast they’re traveling.
- Driver distraction. Drivers who are texting, sending emails, or speaking on their smartphones or other devices often don’t know they are exceeding the speed limit.
- Teenage driving. Many young drivers are focused on the friends in their cars and the thrill of driving to appreciate the dangers of speeding.
What types of injuries do speeding cause in Washington State?
Speeding drivers who run through red lights and stop signs or who fail to slow down at intersections often cause serious or fatal accidents with pedestrians and bicycle riders. Speeding drivers are a danger to construction workers in work zones.
Speeding drivers often cause serious accidents because the faster a car travels, the greater the impact on any vehicles or people the car strikes. Common car accident injuries include whiplash, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, broken bones, nerve damage, muscle and ligament damage, and burn injuries.
Who is responsible for speeding accidents in Vancouver and Battle Ground, Washington?
Drivers deserve to be held accountable for any speeding injuries or deaths they cause. Other responsible parties for a speeding accident may include:
- The owners of the vehicle, if different than the driver
- Trucking companies that push drivers to drive too fast
- Employers of drivers such as delivery drivers
- Other drivers
In Washington, a seller of alcohol may also be liable for a speeding-related accident if driver intoxication played a role and the seller sold the alcohol to a driver who was “apparently under the influence of liquor” at the time of the sale.
Philbrook Law is skilled at showing a driver was speeding at the time of the car accident. We:
- Work with the police who conduct an investigation
- Work with our own investigators
- Question everyone involved or who has information about the accident
- Review the physical evidence, such as skid marks and the extent of the damage
- Examine any radar, black boxes, or other evidence of speeding
There is no formal requirement that the driver who caused your accident be charged with a speeding offense.
At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, Washington lawyers fight to obtain full compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, loss of bodily function, property damage, and all other damages. If the speeding was especially excessive, we will seek punitive damages. We also file wrongful death claims when a speeding accident tragically takes the life of your loved one.
To assert your rights at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call us or use our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We handle car accident cases on a contingency fee basis.
Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.