The simple fact is that the faster you are driving, the more chance you have of being involved in an accident and the more chance that the accident will be serious or could result in a fatality.
- Did you know that approximately two-thirds of crashes in which people are killed or injured occur on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less.
- At 30 mph vehicles are travelling at 44 feet (about 3 car lengths) per second. All it would take is one blink and a driver may fail to see the early warning of another vehicles brake lights. A short glance away and the movement of a child from behind a parked car in to the road will be missed.
- Even in good conditions, the difference in the stopping distance between 30 mph and 35 mph is an extra 21 feet or 6.4 metres, more than 2 car lengths.
- If average speeds were reduced by just 1 mph, the national annual accident rate would fall by approximately 5%.
- If an individual drives more than 10 - 15% above the average speed of the traffic around them, they are much more likely to be involved in an accident.
- On average, in front impact collisions, seat belt wearing drivers have a 17% risk of being fatally injured in impacts at 40 mph and a 60% risk at 50 mph, though half of drivers who were fatally injured were in an impact of 34 mph or less.
- In side impact collisions, drivers are at a much greater risk of being fatally injured:
In a collision at 40 mph the risk of a seat belt wearing driver being killed is 85%.
- Studies involving pedestrians have shown that pedestrians are more likely to be severely or fatally injured when hit by cars at higher speeds, and particularly when the car is travelling more than 30 mph.
- An analysis of vehicle speed in pedestrian fatalities in Great Britain found that 85% of pedestrians killed when struck by cars died in a collision that occurred at impact speeds below 40mph, 45% at less than 30 mph and 5% at speeds below 20 mph.
The risk of a pedestrian who is hit by a car being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30 mph. Above this speed, the risk increases rapidly so that a pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at between 30 mph and 40 mph is between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to be killed than if hit by a car travelling at below 30 mph. However, about half of pedestrian fatalities occur at impact speeds of 30 mph or below.
As can be seen from above speeding is highly dangerous and even going just a few miles per hour over the speed limit can mean the difference between life and death.
But what can be done to change the general public’s opinion that speeding is ok, as long as you are not speeding excessively?
Perhaps the best way to stop people from speeding is by the use of education.
Education is absolutely vital in trying to change attitudes towards speeding. As an example, those who drink and drive are seen as behaving in a dangerous, anti-social, immoral and selfish manner with little regard for the safety of other people. However, those who speed are often not regarded in this way unless they grossly exceed the speed limit. It is essential that the dangers caused by driving at inappropriate speeds are clearly explained and demonstrated (in the way that has been done for drink-driving) to work towards a general acceptance and ownership of the problem of illegal and inappropriate speed.
It will be far easier to persuade people to drive at safer speeds if they understand and accept that driving too fast significantly increases the chances of being involved in an accident, and significantly increases the chances of that accident being serious or fatal.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) strongly support road safety publicity campaigns such as the Department for Transports “Think Country Roads” campaign which highlights the dangers of inappropriate speed.
Speed cameras are placed in known accident hot-spots to force drivers to slow down in those areas. These cameras play a vital role in slowing drivers down though many drivers will simply slow down when they see a speed camera and then speed up again after they have passed it.
Drivers should remind themselves that speed limits and speed cameras are in place for a reason and keep at or below the speed limit at all times.
Vehicle speed restriction devices
Many modern vehicles are now fitted with speed restriction devices which the driver can set to stop them self accidentally going over the speed limit.
On many commercial vehicles such as lorries these devices are fitted by the company/vehicle owner and cannot be removed by the driver.
Vehicle speed restriction devices are a great way to slow drivers down, though even if your vehicle is not fitted with a speed restriction device by simply checking your speedometer on a regular basis you can ensure you do not accidentally go over the speed limit.
Leaving on time
Many accidents are caused by people rushing due to the fact that they are running late. Always ensure that you leave plenty of time for your journeys so that there is no need to speed.
We have sadly dealt with many road traffic collision claims where people have been severely or fatally injured.
The effect of a high speed accident will be devastating to the injured victim, often resulting in a serious spinal injury, an amputation or a brain injury.
In the case of a fatal accident the victim’s family will be markedly impacted by the loss of a loved one.