Recently, there was a crash on I-70 near the National Western Stock Show complex. If media and police reports are accurate, this crash didn’t involve ice other bad road conditions. It didn’t even involve a second car. It was caused by one driver going too fast. The car was speeding, flipped and rolled, killing two people in the car.
This accident was entirely within the driver’s ability to avoid. To me, that is utterly tragic. It’s one thing if your car suddenly starts sliding and you collide with another car or roadside object. It’s another thing entirely when your own reckless actions cause a fatal accident. Can you imagine how the families of the two victims feel? Bereft, shocked and, I bet, angry.
Now, imagine if that person had hit and killed someone else? How would you feel if that was your family member? Devastated, right?
What if your speeding causes that kind of devastation to another family?
Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by NHTSA to be $40.4 billion per year. In 2007, speeding was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 13,040 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.”
For every vehicle crash, there are numerous factors contributing to its severity. In 2008, 37,261 people were killed in an estimated 5.81 million police-reported motor vehicle crashes. While fatal crashes are not the most prevalent, they are the most consequential from a safety standpoint, making it vital to understand factors common to fatal incidents.
This report examines factors that contribute to fatal crashes involving a motor vehicle (e.g., car, truck, or bus). Accident level data was obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA’s) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) database for 2004-2008. Analysis of the FARS database shows:
Single-vehicle crash fatalities are the most prevalent.
The main factors in single-vehicle fatal crashes involve the functionality of traffic controls and the first harmful event in a crash (e.g., rollover, traffic barrier, or ditch).
With regard to two-vehicle fatal crashes, main factors are traffic controls and the characteristics of the roadway (e.g., roadway alignment or surface type).
In multi-vehicle (three or more) fatal crashes, road characteristics, vehicle speed, and road type (e.g., interstate or country road) are the main factors involved.
I admit it: I’m one of those people who perpetually drives the speed limit, even when other drivers are flying by me. (I don’t clog up the left-hand lane, however. I stick to the right.) I have seen so many accidents caused by excessive speed that I’m unwilling to put my life (and my family and my car and my insurance premiums and my other assets) at risk by tempting an accident.
Please do your part to keep our roads safe. Drive the speed limit.