According to the National Transportation Safety Board, speeding causes nearly as many deaths as drunk driving. Some safety advocates maintain that the only way to address the rise in traffic fatalities is to significantly enhance penalties for speeders. Drunk drivers face stiff sanctions when caught behind the wheel, and the director of the NTSB says speeders should do the same.
Approximately 31 percent of all traffic deaths between 2005 and 2014 were caused by excessive speed, according to a recent study. This number is roughly the same as deaths attributable to drunk driving although experts admit there is some crossover due to the high correlation of drunks who also disregard speed limits. Increased speed can dramatically increase the risk of severe or fatal injury, especially where pedestrians are involved. Redesigning roadways and lowering speed limits can increase safety but cause headaches for lawmakers on the receiving end of complaints from motorists already frustrated with extended commutes to and from work.
Part of the problem is the way speed limits were calculated in the first place, particularly in urban settings. Instead of calculating safe speeds for pedestrians and cyclists, speed limits were historically determined by examining the behavior of motorists and setting a speed approximating that already being traveled by most drivers. Recalibrating the focus of speed limits toward safety could help reduce fatalities, but some safety advocates say harsher speeding penalties should also be part of the equation. Drunk drivers face large fines and loss of driving privileges, and increased penalties for speeders could bring focus to the nations epidemic of speeding.
Accident lawyers may be able to hold speeding drivers accountable for injuries they cause with reckless driving. If a speeding driver has injured an individual, consulting a personal injury lawyer may help inform victims about options for holding speeders responsible for damages they cause.