When we get behind the wheel most of us are tempted to go a bit over the legal driving limit either because we are in a hurry or keeping up with the flow of traffic. Even though it’s something we have been guilty of doing, and have gotten away with it many times, it happens to be one of the leading causes of car crashes in the state of Texas.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2017, the highest contributing factor of 139,131 statewide traffic accidents was speeding over the legal limit. Speeding also contributed to traffic related fatalities with it being the 3rd leading factor for most fatalities, with failure of staying in a single lane (or swerving out of the lane) being the top cause for 605 car accident fatalities in Texas.
The department’s accident data also reports that Dallas was the county with the highest number of speeding fatalities for that year with 82 deaths.
Surprisingly, for that same year, speeding was more of a prominent cause of accidents than both drug (3,108 accidents) and alcohol (13,847 accidents) related factors combined. However, Alcohol related factors accumulated more accident fatalities (544 accidents) than speeding (500 accidents) for that year.
The Dangers of Speeding
After observing the results, we wondered why speeding is such a huge reason for traffic accidents compared to other factors of crashes? According to the NHTSA, the reason why speeding is such a common cause for accidents, injuries and death is:
- Less driving and steering control
- Affects vehicle reaction time (braking or evasive maneuvering)
- Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment
- Increased degree of impact leading to more serious injuries, disabilities or death
- Less time for driver to react in a dangerous situation
- Increases chance of vehicle flipping over
We believe that another reason why speeding is such a large cause of accidents is because of how common it is. Realistically speaking, all drivers, even the most careful ones, tend to drive over the speed limit from time to time. The more frequently this is committed, the more potential it has to cause car more crashes.
What are the Speeding Laws in Texas?
Prima Facie Speed Limit
In the state of Texas there is no fixed or absolute speeding laws like some other states. For example, in other states, if a driver were to surpass the posted speed limit for that area, the driver has violated the law and can receive a fine from the authorities.
Prima Facie, a Latin phrase meaning, “at first appearance” is treated more of a set of speed guidelines drivers must keep in mind depending on where they are driving and what the posted legal driving limit is. If you were to exceed the Prima Facie limit, you could challenge the violation and prove that your reasons for speeding were safe. It’s a much grayer area of speed enforcement than absolute speeding laws. Could this type of enforcement contribute to the high amount of speeding accidents in Texas?
How Can We Reduce Speeding Accidents?
As responsible drivers, we are constantly lectured about obeying the speed laws and are met with consequences when we don’t. However, reckless speeding is still causing accidents and threatening the lives of other drivers. What more could we do as drivers to reduce the amount of speeding accidents other than just obeying speed limit?
Cut the Habit of Speeding
Here are a few things drivers can easily apply to reduce the habit of speeding and prevent speeding accidents:
- Always try to leave on time and make room in your schedule for delays. Drivers running late tend to habitually rush over the speed limit to avoid being late. Always give yourself spare driving time and look up traffic reports before you leave.
- Get good use out of your cruise control feature if your car has it. This can help you easily maintain a constant speed especially when traveling long distance.
- Report dangerous drivers. If you ever spot someone driving dangerously fast, don’t hesitate to report it to highway patrol if you believe it’s putting other people’s life in danger.
- Avoid any distractions inside the vehicle. Inattentive driving can interfere with your cognitive abilities and can draw your focus away from maintaining a safe speed. The combination of distracted driving and speeding is by far an extremely dangerous factor and significantly increases the chances of a serious collision.
- Drivers can also be speeding when they are driving the legal posted limit. During certain weather conditions, such as snow, rain or hail, driving the actual posted speed limit can count as reckless driving. When the rainy season comes in Texas, drivers should remember to drive slower than the posted speed limit. Slick roads means less control for fast driving.
If you have been injured in a car accident caused by reckless driving, speeding or distracted driving you might consider contacting a certified car accident attorney. They will be able to help you find compensation for your injury, damages or the unfortunate loss of a loved one. Don’t hesitate to contact your local traffic law expert if you have any questions about accidents and injuries.