Everyone knows that speed kills. Let’s face it. Many of us experience pleasure from going faster than the authorities deem proper. When we do, we feel like rebels and cowboys. After all, don’t all patriotic Americans flout the law at least occasionally? Some of us even brag about it. And the need for speed hits residents of big cities, such as Chicago, even harder because of the never-ending traffic snarls.
You know, however, that there’s a very dark side to ignoring speed laws. After all, consider how authorities choose these limits. They certainly don’t reach into a hat and pull out a random number. In fact, traffic engineers study a neighborhood and then calculate the maximum speed people can safely drive there.
Go faster than that, and you’re endangering yourself and others.
Unfortunately, some of you have personally experienced the pain and loss that a speeding motorist can bring down on us. Sometimes even the most competent defensive driver cannot avoid a collision at the hands of a speed demon.
If, heaven forbid, a negligent driver ever injures you or someone you love, here’s what to do. Talk to a qualified, experienced personal injury lawyer before you consider signing any documents. The consultation is free, and you don’t pay a dime until you win.
Now, back to the problems led-footed drivers cause. Here’s are some of the ways too much speed kills.
- It can impair your ability to recognize and react to risks. At 25 mph, you might have avoided that child who dashed into the street, but at 50, no chance.
- It might make you less able to take evasive actions such as braking or swerving to avoid a collision.
Unfortunately, people who can’t drive safely because they’re going too fast kill and maim innocent people. For example, excessive speed contributed to about 30% of the crash fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Now, let’s get a little closer to home. This chart shows the number of Illinois citizens who died on city streets in 2009.
Speed Limit (MPH) 55 50 45 40 35 30
Number of Deaths 113 5 23 15 27 64
Look closely at those numbers. Notice that you needn’t drive 100 mph to kill. In 2009, people who exceeded a limit of less than 35 mph still managed to deliver 64 people to an early grave.
Of course, death and injury bring on the worst penalties, but not the only ones. There’s always property damage. In 2008, Americans lost $210 billion due to traffic accidents, and excessive speed contributed to about 20% of that miserable figure. Higher insurance payments increase the costs even more.
And don’t forget those pesky traffic tickets.
CBS News reported that in September 2014, Illinois authorities raised the penalties for these offenses, among others:
- The fine for driving 21 to 30 mph above the speed limit went from $95 to $140.
- The fee for hot-footing it more than 30 mph above the speed limit rose from $105 to $160.
- The charge for running a red light moved from $75 to $120.
So the next time you decide to heed the need for speed, slow down, think and consider costs. Contemplate those who die, suffer brain damage, lose their limbs and forfeit their property. Imagine your insurance rates skyrocketing while your ticket fees reach for the stars.
That’s why smart people obey speed limits. Want to join them?
Speaking of smart people, sometimes dumb folks victimize them by driving too fast. When that happens, intelligent folks stop and think. Then they consult a highly-professional, experienced lawyer before signing any paperwork. They know that like doctors, attorneys specialize. Some create wills, others prosecute criminals, while a third group helps people who suffer injuries at the hands of careless people.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you’ve decided always to commute within the speed limit, drive defensively to protect yourself against those who don’t, and hire the best lawyer you can find if you should become an unlucky victim.