How Does Speed Contribute To A Fatal Car Crash

While many factors can contribute to a fatal car crash, speeding is one of the top contributing factors to traffic deaths and injuries in the United States. In 2020, there were a shocking 25,021 speed related crashes responsible for 269 deaths on Pennsylvania roadways alone. 

Excessive speeding reduces the amount of time a driver has to react in a dangerous situation, making them less likely to be able to avoid a crash. It also increases the stopping distance for their vehicle, and lessens the efficacy of safety structures like guard rails, making them less likely to protect vehicle occupants in the case of a crash. 

If you or your loved one suffered due to another driver’s reckless behavior while speeding on the roadway, there may be other factors involved, leaving you wondering just how speed contributed to your fatal crash. In this article, we’ll examine the role speed plays in a fatal crash – and when you may want to contact an experienced speed related PA car crash attorney

Speed and Car Crashes

It isn’t surprising for most people to learn that speed has a lot to do with how severe a car crash ends up being. Whether the crash is a single-vehicle accident, or one that involves other vehicles, bikers, or pedestrians, the higher the speed, the more serious an accident can become. 

Nationwide, speeding was a factor in 20 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2020, taking the lives of over 30 people per day. Before 2020, speeding related deaths had been on the decline. But 20202 marked the most fatalities from speed related crashes since 2008. And while data is still being compiled for 2021 and 2022, it is tragically likely that this trend will only continue. 

What Makes a Crash Speeding-Related?

If it is determined that your crash was “speed-related” that means that speed was considered the prime contributing factor to your crash – not that it was the only factor. A crash may be considered speeding related if:

  • The driver exceeded the posted speed limit
  • The driver was racing
  • The driver was driving too fast for the road conditions


Speed and Driver Demographics In Fatal Car Crashes

The number of speeding related accidents is higher among younger drivers, and male drivers across all age groups. Male drivers aged 15-24 are the most likely to be found speeding at the time of a fatal crash. In 2020, at least 32 percent of male drivers in the 15-24 age range involved in fatal crashes were found to be speeding at the time of the crash, whereas only 18 percent of female drivers were found to be speeding in the same age range. 


Speeding and Roadway Surface Conditions

While driving at the posted speed limit on a dry road is considered safe, driving at that same legal speed limit when the road is slippery due to ice or rain may quickly become fatal. When this happens, a driver may be guilty of a speed-related car crash due to driving “too fast for roadway conditions”.

When road conditions were dry, speed was a factor for 19 percent of drivers in fatal crashes in 2020. That number increased to 21 percent on wet roads, 22 percent on roads with snow, 42 percent for roads with mud, gravel, ice or frost, and up to 45 percent on roads with moving or standing water. 


Speed and Fatal Car Accidents While Driving Under the Influence

Unfortunately, speeding and driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs often go hand in hand. When this happens, it can be difficult to determine whether speed or substances were more at fault for any serious injuries or fatalities in a car crash

No matter how fast the driver was going, a car accident that occurs at any speed can lead to serious property damage and devastating injuries. At Thistle Law, we can help you determine fault in a car accident, and more importantly, help you get the compensation you need to get your life back on track after a car crash caused by a speeding driver. Contact us today by filling out our form, or call us for a free consultation at (215) 525-6824

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