In 2010, there were nearly 5.5 million police-reported traffic crashes, in which 32,885 people were killed and 2.25 million people were injured. Accidents are usually caused by the negligence of one or more drivers, however other factors such as poorly maintained roads and malfunctioning traffic control signals can contribute to the cause. Improper design, maintenance, construction, signage, lighting or other highway defect, as well as improper striping on the road’s passing lanes, a sharp obstruction or problem with the roadway that obstructs drivers’ vision, or poorly placed trees and utility poles can also cause serious accidents. In other cases, such as the Toyota recall litigation, vehicles and/or their component parts may be defectively designed or manufactured, causing serious injury.
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 Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C., 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 West Virginia law, all motorists are required to drive at a speed that is reasonable or prudent. W. Va. Code § 17C-6-1.
Any speed in excess of the following speeds is evidence of unreasonable driving:
- 15 mph approaching a school crossing
- 25 mph in a business or residential district
- 55 mph in other locations, unless the director of highway traffic states otherwise. W. Va. Code § 17C-6-1.
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.
At Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C., we use our experience in handling accident cases to investigate every possible contributing cause of an accident to ensure that you will receive full compensation for your injuries. Evaluating all of the facts involved in the cause of a motor vehicle accident requires skill and experience. Our office will take over the investigation of your case so that you can concentrate on recovering from your injuries. We can assist you in finding an appropriate medical specialist to treat you, and we can make arrangements with your medical care providers to wait for payment until your case is resolved through settlement or trial.
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In all matters involving personal injury it is essential that measures be taken promptly to preserve evidence, investigate the accident in question, and file a lawsuit prior to the deadline imposed by the Statute of Limitations. If you or a loved one is a victim of personal injuries, call Hamstead, Williams & Shook P.L.L.C. now at 888 – 298 – 2529. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to accept your case, we will work on a Contingent Fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary award or recovery of funds. Don’t delay! You may have a valid claim and be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but a lawsuit must be filed before the statute of limitations expires.