Speeding is one of the most dangerous types of reckless driving behaviors. Not only does it make car accidents more likely, but it also increases the severity of injuries suffered by drivers and their passengers. To protect your own safety and that of others on the road, our Houston car accident lawyers urge you to obey speed limits. However, one study shows that even traveling at legal speeds could put you at risk of a fatal car accident.
The study shows that as a result of raising U.S. state speed limits more than two decades ago, the number of speed-related fatalities has steadily increased. Our Houston car accident lawyers explain more about the problem and how to pursue compensation after a speed-related accident in Texas.
Changes in speed limits increase risk of fatal car accidents across U.S.
Speed limit laws have fluctuated dramatically over the years. To reduce fuel consumption during the energy crisis in 1974, Congress instituted national 55 mile-per-hour(mph) limits.
After receiving complaints from motorists and public officials concerned about traffic flow, Congress increased speeds on rural interstates to 65 mph through the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act in 1987.
Less than 10 years later, Congress passed the 1995 National Highway Designation Act, which eliminated federal speed limits altogether. This put the power of deciding speed limit laws into the hands of state officials, most of whom increased the legal speed limits in their state.
A study by the American Journal of Public Health shows that in the more than 25 years since the National Highway Designation Act, the number of U.S. traffic fatalities has steadily increased. After reviewing car accident statistics in each state (excluding only Massachusetts and Hawaii), researchers uncovered the following:
- The percentage of road deaths increased by an average of three percent after federal speed limits were eliminated in 1995;
- On urban interstates, higher speed limits resulted in a four percent increase in traffic fatalities;
- On rural interstates, speeding-related car accident deaths increased by nearly nine percent;
- Over a ten-year period, removing federal speed limits has resulted in 12,545 more car accident deaths on U.S. highways, and over 36,500 more injuries.
Speed-related car accidents in Harris County
Texas was among the many states to increase speed limits once federal regulations were eliminated. Texas drivers can legally travel at speeds up to 85 mph on most interstates and up to 75 mph on rural roads and highways.
Unfortunately, this freedom comes at a heavy cost. According to the latest statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents throughout the state each year, claiming the lives of more than 700 people annually.
This represents a roughly 30 percent increase in fatal speed-related accidents since 2003. For residents of Houston, the impacts of speeding are grim:
- Speeding is a primary factor in more than 1,500 car accidents in Harris County annually;
- Speeding is directly responsible for nearly 25 percent of all traffic fatalities in our area;
- Speed-related car accidents claim the lives of close to 100 drivers and passengers annually while leaving more than 1,000 others suffering serious personal injuries;
- Speeding makes fatal car accidents more likely to happen on local interstates and highways, where speed limits are typically over 65 mph.
A recent article by our Houston car accident lawyers on the ‘Top 7 Deadliest Roads & Highways in Texas’ highlights areas in the state where deadly crashes are most likely to occur. Regrettably, Houston roads rank in the number one and three spots on the list, according to NHTSA data.
Specifically, Interstate 45 (I-45) has an average of 83 fatalities each year while nearly 60 fatal car accidents happen on Interstate 10 (I-10). Unsurprisingly, speeding is a common contributing cause in these deadly crashes.
How to prove and obtain compensation for a speed-related car accident in Texas
If you are injured in a speed-related car accident in Texas in which the other driver is to blame, you have the right to hold them responsible in a claim. Actions you should take to prove and obtain compensation include:
- Pull over to a safe location. If you’re on the highway, use hazard lights and pull onto the shoulder.
- Call the police. The officer may give the other driver a traffic citation for speeding that you can use in your accident claim to prove fault.
- Gather evidence. This includes getting the names and contact information for witnesses and taking photos or videos at the scene.
- Get immediate medical attention. External and internal injuries suffered in a high-speed accident have the potential to be life-threatening.
- Consult with our Houston car accident lawyers. We’ll help you prove negligence and pursue the maximum amount of compensation in a claim.
To prove the other driver’s speed was responsible for your car accident, accident reconstruction experts can study the physical evidence involved. This includes the presence of skid marks on the road as well as the type and extent of damage to both vehicles. For example, it takes a certain amount of force to cause the heavy metal panels on the front or rear end of a car to collapse, bend, or break.
Based on their knowledge of how car accidents happen, experts may be able to calculate the minimum speed a driver would have had to be traveling at the time of the crash to cause the damage to your vehicle.
Act quickly and contact our Houston car accident lawyers to pursue max compensation
Speed-related car accidents can cause severe injuries that impact you for years to come. While you focus on recovering your health, let our experienced Houston car accident lawyers at Johnson Garcia LLP focus on getting you the compensation you need.
With over 30 years of combined experience, we offer a record of success representing injured Texans like you in serious car accident claims. Schedule your free consultation by giving us a call or contact us online today.