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Excessive speed linked to 30 percent of fatal car accidents

NHTSA data reveals that road traffic accidents involving excessive speed claimed the lives of 208 people on the roads of Louisiana in 2012. While many would think that a great many of these accidents occurred on interstate highways, the data indicates that the vast majority of fatal speed-related crashes took place on local or collector roads. Accidents involving excessive speed on collector roads, which connect minor roads with major arteries, claimed the most lives according to the statistics.

Excessive speed was cited as a contributory factor in 30 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2012, and NHTSA estimates that these crashes cost society $40 billion every year. The data also shows that men are more likely than women to drive at a speed higher than the posted limit and younger drivers are more prone to this behavior than their more experienced counterparts.

However, it is the frequent combination of alcohol consumption and high-speed driving that will likely cause the most concern for law enforcement agencies and road safety advocates. Researchers from NHTSA found that 42 percent of the drivers involved in fatal speed-related crashes in 2012 had a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or more. The figure for drivers involved in fatal accidents where speed was not a factor were found to be over the legal driving limit only 16 percent of the time.

Accidents involving high speeds frequently cause catastrophic injuries, and lawsuits stemming from this kind of crash often involve arguments about liability and comparative negligence. A driver struck while making a left turn could appear to be in the wrong, but yet a different result may be reached if the other vehicle involved was speeding at the time. Personal injury attorneys may closely scrutinize accident reports and witness statements in order to establish liability, and they could also conduct further investigations when the documentation provided by law enforcement is inconclusive.

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