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How Speeding Causes Car Accidents

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

Car accidents happen in a wide variety of different ways, but speeding is often to blame. This is true despite volumes of data linking excessive speed to crashes and widespread efforts by law enforcement and the government to stop this dangerous activity.

At Levine Law, our accident attorneys help people and families fight back against dangerous driving by holding negligent drivers fully accountable for their actions. We are accomplished lawyers who combine decades of experience and a track record of getting people and families the compensation that they deserve after an accident.

Speed Kills in Denver and Across Colorado

Speeding is the cause of, or a contributing factor in, a wide range of accidents in Denver, across Colorado, and throughout the country.

Although traffic fatalities have been on the decline in Colorado, deaths from speeding accidents are rising. Approximately 240 people are killed annually in speeding-related motor vehicle collisions statewide, according to data compiled by the Colorado Department of Transportation. Speed is a factor in at least 40% of traffic accident fatalities. 

Across ages, men drivers are overwhelmingly behind the wheel in speed-related collisions that result in death, according to CDOT.

Denver is home to the highest number of speeding-related traffic deaths in the state, a dubious distinction highlighted by the CDOT data. Roughly 35 people die each year in the city and county in accidents in which speed is a factor.

National Speeding Crash Statistics

Data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows just how dangerous speeding is on roads and streets across the country.

Speeding is to blame for nearly one-third of all motor vehicle deaths every year, according to NHTSA. Some 9,500 people are killed in accidents caused by speeding nationwide on an annual basis.

Many of these tragedies happen when drivers exceed the speed limits posted for particular roads and streets. They can also occur, however, when drivers go too fast for conditions like rain, sleet, ice and snow. That is particularly a factor in accidents in rural areas.

Accidents caused by speeding also take an economic toll. An estimated $40 billion is lost due to these crashes across the country every year, according to NHTSA.

Our accident lawyers know that for people injured in speeding crashes, the bills can quickly pile up. There is often medical care, long recovery times, costly medical bills and missed wages during recuperation. That is not to mention that some people may not be able to return to work and suffer temporary or permanent disability.

Teen Driving Accidents Involving Speed

Excessive speed and aggressive driving are unique safety threats for teen drivers, who are less experienced, more likely to take risks behind the wheel, and may not know how to properly react to the traffic around them.

Younger drivers are most likely to be behind the wheel in speeding-related fatal crashes, CDOT found. Speeding drivers between the ages of 15 and 34 account for more than half (61%) of those accidents. Those between the ages of 15 and 20 made up nearly 29% of those accidents.

Summer months are especially deadly for teen drivers across the country. Roughly seven people die each day in teen driving-related collisions between Memorial Day and Labor Day nationwide, according to research from the American Automobile Association. Speeding is a factor in nearly one-third of those crashes, AAA says.

Slow Down, Save Lives

Speed limits vary from urban streets to interstate highways. They are designed to help people maintain consistent speeds while also keeping everyone on the road safe. That includes not only other drivers and passengers but also motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicycle riders.  Speeding is a choice. Drivers often choose to exceed posted speed limits because they are late or impatient. Even those who have been driving for decades and are otherwise cautious behind the wheel may push speed limits in certain circumstances.

Fortunately, there are certain steps drivers can take to make it easier to cut down on speeding.

  • Leave early: That way, you are less likely to be pressed for time to get to work, school and other appointments. 
  • Be aware: Understand what the speed limit is and stay alert for changes in speed limits, especially in road construction situations.
  • Let the car do the work: Use cruise control and other settings to avoid speeding.
  • Skip the tailgate: Driving up as close as possible to cars in front of you in order to get them to move faster or change lanes is a recipe for disaster that can result in rear-end and chain reaction crashes.

Ultimately, it is up to drivers to make the conscious decision to stay within speed limits and reduce speeds further when necessary to deal with weather and other circumstances.

How to Deal With Speeding and Aggressive Drivers

Being faced with speeding and aggressive driving is an unfortunate part of life on the road. 

In a AAA study, nearly half (48%) of the participants admitted that they had exceeded speed limits by 15 miles per hour or more in the last month. Roughly one-third of the drivers also said they participated in similar dangerous behavior behind the wheel, like following cars too closely to stop others from merging and running red lights.

Many drivers match aggressive driving with aggressive driving. About a quarter of drivers surveyed by AAA said they speed up when other cars try to overtake them on the road.  The most important thing you can do to stay safe is to not respond in kind. Slow down and allow the driver to pass. It may cost you some time, but it will save you some stress and anxiety. It will also reduce the risk of a tragic accident.

Speak With an Accident Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one has been injured in a speeding or other traffic crash in Colorado, an accident attorney at Levine Law can help you maximize your compensation. Our firm is pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins, and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with an accident attorney.