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Speeding causes as many deaths as drunk driving

A recent study shows speeding to be a primary factor in approximately 31 percent of all traffic fatalities. With a spike in overall numbers of traffic deaths, some safety advocates are proposing much harsher penalties for speeders to help relay the importance of slowing down to motorists.

Drivers caught behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol face penalties including jail time and the loss of driving privileges. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, deaths related to speeding are almost equal to those caused by drunk driving, but speeding regulations are much more lenient than drunk driving laws. The director of the NTSB suggests that traffic deaths will not regress until lawmakers address the nation's speeding problem.

In car crashes, it is well known that severity of injuries increases with speed. A pedestrian struck at 30 mph has a 60 percent chance of survival while one struck at 40 mph has just a 30 percent chance of surviving the crash. Speed control measures are often met with resistance from drivers already frustrated by extended commute times, and safety advocates face an uphill battle in convincing legislatures to adopt stiffer penalties without pressure from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving that put forth extensive lobbying efforts to strengthen the country's drunk driving laws. One problem is the speed limits themselves, which are not calculated for safety but rather based upon typical driver behavior; most limits are set at the speed most drivers would travel.

While lawmakers might hesitate to act against speeding drivers, an experienced personal injury lawyer may take initiative by pursuing damages from reckless drivers and their insurance carriers. As more speeding drivers recognize the risk of financial loss through lawsuits after a car crash, they should also recognize the risk to the lives of fellow motorists and pedestrians.

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