Speeding is one of the leading causes of fatal crashes in the United States, with more than 9,300 deaths occurring in 2018, according to crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
There are two primary reasons why speed-related crashes are typically serious or fatal. One is the increased time and distances required to stop. The other is the increased damage that comes with greater impact.
Throughout the state of Washington, there were 546 traffic fatalities in 2018. More than 30 percent were caused by speeding.
The average driver acknowledges that speeding is dangerous. With the pressure of being in a rush to get somewhere, however, many drivers aren't afraid to take the risk of causing a crash.
Some drivers have been doing it long enough without being ticketed or being involved in a crash. In other cases, drunk drivers may not be aware of how fast they are traveling. They may not have any regard for the consequences of speeding.
How does the average driver acknowledge the risks of speeding?
Historically, the NHTSA has focused its efforts on educating drivers on the dangers of speeding. Safety advocates from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) now say that educational methods have proven to be ineffective.
"Speeding has been a major factor in more than a quarter of traffic fatalities for over 30 years, so it is important that NHTSA focus on countermeasures that are likely to succeed, rather than further investigating ones that have already proved ineffective," IIHS vice president Jessica Cicchino said.
What is being done to reduce speed-related crashes in Seattle?
Rising speed limits are often cited as the culprit behind the staggering number of speed-related crashes. Both national and local officials are seeking ways to reduce the death toll.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan recently announced that the speed limits will be reduced to 25 mph on the city’s arterial streets, and 20 mph on non-arterial streets. This will impact about 80 percent of the streets throughout the city. Some of the streets currently have speed limits as high as 45 mph.
The Seattle Department of Transportation will install between 2,000 and 3,000 signs informing drivers of the speed limit change. They'll be installed over the next year and a half.
In 2016, city officials began lowering the speed limit on unmarked arterials and downtown streets to 25 mph. The city continued to see speed-related fatalities on many roadways that weren't affected by the speed limit changes.
Aurora Avenue is one particular area that has raised concerns. Only one day after Thanksgiving of 2019, four pedestrians were struck on Aurora by a speeding driver who had lost control of her vehicle. Two of the pedestrians were killed in the crash, and two others were injured. The driver tried to take off. She was caught by a good Samaritan and later arrested by police.
If you or a loved one was hurt in a crash by a speeding driver, you likely sustained serious injuries. That's why it's critical that you seek the legal advocacy of an experienced Seattle car accident attorney as soon as possible.
The legal team at Nelson Langer Engle, PLLC investigates speed-related crashes and fights to help crash victims and their families pursue justice. To get started on your car accident claim, contact our law office to learn about the legal options available to you.