Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic accidents in the United States. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by the NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2010, speeding was a contributing factor in 31% of fatal crashes, killing 10,395 people. At McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Cullum LLP, we use every means available to prove negligence on the part of a speeding driver in order to obtain the highest monetary reward for our clients. Under New York law, all motorists are required to drive at a speed that is reasonable or prudent. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1180(a) (Consol. 2002).

Any speed in excess of the following speeds is evidence of unreasonable driving:

  • Posted speed limit approaching a school crossing between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Fines are doubled for speeding in excess of 10 miles over the posted speed limit in construction areas. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 1180 (h)(3)(ii).
  • A maximum speed limit of not more than 65 mph on interstate highways. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law § 1180-a(3).
  • 55 mph in other locations, unless the director of highway traffic states other wise. N.Y. Veh. & Traf. Law §1180(b) (Consol. 2002).

Speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation. For drivers involved in fatal crashes, young males are the most likely to be speeding. The relative proportion of speeding-related crashes to all crashes decreases with increasing driver age. In 2010, 39 percent of the male drivers in the 15 to 20 and 21 to 24 age groups who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash. Further, alcohol and speeding seem to go hand in hand. In 2010, 42 percent of speeding drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were also intoxicated, with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 (grams per deciliter [g/dl]) or greater. In contrast, only 16 percent of the nonspeeding drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2010 were intoxicated. Alcohol and speeding are clearly a deadly combination.

In 2010, 35 percent of all motorcyclists involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 23 percent for passenger car drivers, 19 percent for light-truck drivers, and 8 percent for large-truck drivers. In 2010, only 53 percent of speeding passenger vehicle drivers under 21 years old who were involved in fatal crashes were wearing safety belts at the time of the crash. In contrast, 75 percent of nonspeeding drivers in the same age group were restrained. For drivers 21 years and older, the percentage of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes who were using restraints at the time of the crash was 47 percent, but 76 percent of nonspeeding drivers in fatal crashes were restrained.


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