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When may speeding be a factor in a car collision?

It can happen to all drivers. An individual in Iowa is running late, and in order to get to his or her destination on time, he or she will drive faster. Whether this means exceeding the speed limit by one or 10 mph, speeding can create a dangerous condition on the roadway. Moreover, this situation could result in a speed-related accident, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities.

When is it more likely for speeding to be a factor in a car collision? According to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are four major factors considered when addressing speed-related accidents. First, the study focused on whether a driver was exceeding the speed limit or traveling too fast for conditions at the time of the accident.

Next, the study focused on the road environment and the posted speed limit on the road. Specifically, this factor addressed whether the speed-related collision happened on an interstate or non-interstate road and the speed posted at the location of the crash. Additionally, the study looked at the surface conditions of the roadway and roadway alignment at the time of the collision. The study also considered whether the accident took place at an intersection.

According to this report, with regards to fatal collisions caused by a speeding driver, 55 percent of these crashes involved a driver who was exceeding the posted speed limit. The remaining 45 percent of speed-related fatal crashes involved a driver who was traveling too fast for conditions. For speeding-related accidents causing injuries, 26 percent involved a driver exceeding the speed limit while 74 percent involved a driver traveling too fast for conditions.

Lastly, the study found that speeding-related accidents caused by motorists driving too fast for conditions occurred on roads with a posted speed limit of 50 mph or higher. In these types of crashes, these were most likely to occur on curved sections of the road during adverse road surface conditions such as snowy, slushy, icy, slippery or wet roads.

Because speeding can create serious dangers on the roadways, it is important that drivers understand how to avoid causing such hazards. A thorough accident investigation could establish whether speeding was a factor. Additionally, if a negligent or reckless act such as speeding caused a car accident, the speeding driver could be held liable for the injuries and damages caused by the incident through a personal injury claim.

Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "An Analysis of Speeding-Related Crashes: Definitions and the Effects of Road Environments," accessed August 3, 2015

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