Speeding Is a Factor in Over 34 percent of All Fatal Accidents in Missouri

By | November 20, 2019 | Car Accidents

Across the country, drivers speed every day. In fact, you may have been one of those drivers. According to a recent survey, half of all drivers have admitted to driving 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on a freeway. About the same number of drivers have admitted to exceeding the speed limit by at least 10 miles per hour on a residential street. Even scarier, approximately a quarter of those surveyed, nearly a quarter think that there is nothing wrong with going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit on the freeway. Fourteen percent think it’s okay to speed in a residential area.

Unfortunately, speeding is one of the leading causes of death on the road. In Missouri, nearly 35 percent of all fatal accidents involved speeding. That’s double the rate of speed-involved fatal accidents across the United States. It also led to more fatalities than alcohol, distracted driving, and failure to yield in the state of Missouri. Speeding is a serious problem that can lead to serious injuries. If you or a loved one has been injured by a speeding driver, a car accident attorney can help you understand your rights.

Why Do so Many People Speed?

Why do so many people drive at an unsafe speed, thus causing crashes? There’s no question that speeding is dangerous, so why do so many people continue to do it? Sometimes people speed out of a feeling of necessity. Others do it simply because they can. Regardless of the reason, it is going to be a serious problem if you are in a crash.. Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why people speed:

  • They’re running late: Lateness is one of the most common reasons drivers give for driving over the speed limit. They think that they can shave off a few minutes by driving a little bit faster. When someone is in a hurry, speeding is not the only concern. They may take shortcuts, extra risks, or fail to check their surroundings.
  • Routine: When you drive the same route every day, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. You get used to the route and may not notice the needle drift above the speed limit. Complacency is a big problem on the road. If you notice that you inadvertently exceed the speed limit more than you should, consider changing things up. Changing your route can force you to pay attention and be more cognizant of your actions.
  • The thrill: There is no good reason for speeding. When someone chooses to drive above the posted speed limit, they put the lives of other drivers at risk. But choosing to speed simply for the thrill of it is extremely selfish and extremely dangerous. When a driver speeds for the thrill, they’re usually not going just 5 miles per hour over the speed limit. Thrill-seekers will often go 20, 30, or even 50 miles per hour over the speed limit. At these speeds, an accident can be catastrophic.

The Dangers of Speed

The numbers don’t lie. Speed kills. Speeding causes three times as many fatalities as distracted driving and nearly as many as drunk driving. Too often, drivers fail to understand the dangers of excessive speed. But what is it that makes speeding so dangerous?

  • The faster you go, the less time you have to react: Driving a car requires the ability to react with a moment’s notice. When an animal darts out into the street or the car in front of you suddenly slams on their brakes, you have to be ready to respond. This becomes difficult when you are speeding. Speed reduces a driver’s reaction time. This means they have to process and react quicker. At excessive speeds, a driver may not have enough time to react.
  • Speeding cars require more time to stop: Cars are not designed to stop on a dime. A car driving 20 miles per hour takes 40 feet to stop. That same car driving 40 miles per hour takes 120 feet to stop. That’s triple the amount of stopping distance. When you speed, not only do you have less time to react, but it takes longer for the car to come to a stop. This can be a deadly combination.
  • Excess speed makes it harder to control the vehicle: What happens when the car in front of you suddenly comes to a stop? Do you slam on your brakes? Swerve to avoid a collision? We already know that speeding forces you to make these decisions faster than you normally would. But when you travel too fast, suddenly stopping or swerving your car can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
  • High-speed crashes result in more serious injuries: When you’re involved in an accident, the energy of the crash is absorbed by your vehicle. The faster you drive, the more energy there is to be absorbed. Even a seemingly small increase in speed can dramatically increase the amount of energy in a crash. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when a car increases its speed from 40 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour, the amount of energy increases by 125 percent.

It’s Not Always About the Number on the Speedometer

Speeding is never a good idea. But driving over the posted speed is not the only type of speeding. Driving too fast for conditions is a serious problem that far too many people underestimate. When you get in the car, you have to adjust for changing circumstances. When it’s dark you turn on your headlights. When it rains, you use your windshield wipers. And when it snows, you pull out the chains or snow tires. But too many people forget about speed. When the circumstances change, you need to adjust your speed.

In Missouri, the posted speed limit is the recommended maximum speed under good conditions. Driving too fast for conditions is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. Missouri law specifically states that all drivers must drive “at a rate of speed so as not to endanger the property of another or the life or limb of any person and shall exercise the highest degree of care.” There are many situations where you should reduce your speed to keep you and other drivers safe. This includes:

  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Heavy traffic
  • Fog
  • Poor road conditions
  • Sun glare

Common Injuries

Speeding is dangerous and can lead to serious injuries. These injuries can lead to chronic pain and substantial medical bills. If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you recover costs related to your treatment. The type and severity of your injury will depend on a variety of factors, but some of the most common motor vehicle accident injuries include:

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are more common than you think. According to the CDC, there were 288,000 TBI hospitalizations in 2014. Motor vehicle accidents were the second leading cause of these stays, accounting for over 20 percent of TBI-related hospitalizations. Traumatic brain injuries occur when the brain is injured due to a blow or penetrating wound to the head. The term “traumatic brain injury” covers all injuries that are the result of trauma. Injuries range from a minor concussion to a life-threatening brain bleed. Traumatic brain injuries are not always immediately apparent. It can take days or even weeks for symptoms to appear. After a car accident (particularly one where you hit your head) you should always look out for signs of a TBI. Common symptoms include:

  • Dizziness;
  • Headaches;
  • Confusion;
  • Memory issues;
  • Changes in mood or sleep;
  • Nausea

Symptoms of a medical emergency include:

  • Slurred speech;
  • Loss of consciousness;
  • Weakness;
  • Seizures;
  • Loss of consciousness

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries occur when there is a serious trauma to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is the mode of communication from your brain to the rest of your body. It is protected by the vertebrae of your back. When the cord becomes injured it can cause serious problems, most often paralysis. Contrary to popular belief, the spinal cord does not need to be severed for paralysis to occur. In fact, in most cases, the primary injury is nothing more than swelling or contusions.

Like a traumatic brain injury, a spinal cord injury may not appear right away. You may begin to experience symptoms as the cord begins to swell. If you experience any symptoms of a spinal cord injury you should seek medical attention right away. Common symptoms include:

  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Numbness or tingling in your limbs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme back pain

There are two main types of spinal cord injuries, a complete injury, and an incomplete injury. With a complete injury, you will lose all movement below the point of injury. With an incomplete injury, you may retain some function on one side.

Broken Bones

Broken bones are common after motor vehicle accidents. The force of the collision can twist and move your limbs in unnatural positions. Additional, a blow to the head or chest can shatter the bones. Common injuries include fractured ribs, facial fractures, broken legs, and broken arms.

Broken bones are usually treated with surgery or a cast or splint. They will generally take several months to heal. In some cases, you may experience may or changes in mobility even after the injury has healed.


Burns can happen in serious motor vehicle accidents. They are most likely to occur when the vehicle catches on fire or when part of the body comes in contact with a hot surface. The necessary treatment will depend on the severity of the burn. Burns are graded on a scale of degrees. A first-degree burn is a minor burn that usually doesn’t require medical attention. This type of burn will usually heal on its own without leaving a scar. A second-degree burn is more serious. It involves the lower levels of the skin and may blister and cause scars. A third-degree burn is the most serious type of burn. These burns usually require intensive medical attention, which may require a skin graft. They are extremely painful and carry a high risk of infection.

Neck and Back Injuries

The neck and back are vulnerable to injury during a motor vehicle accident. One of the most common injuries after an accident is whiplash. Whiplash usually happens after a rear-end accident. When a vehicle is hit from behind, the neck suddenly whips backward before falling forward. This causes strain to the supporting muscles and often leads to injury. In some cases, the ligaments may tear and cause serious damage. In other cases, the trauma can cause herniated or bulging discs. These injuries are serious and can cause chronic pain. Whiplash often heals on its own, but if the discs are damaged, your doctor may recommend surgery if you are not responding to other forms of treatment.

When to Seek Legal Assistance

After an accident, the other party will likely try to make excuses for why they were speeding. But when it comes to your injuries, their reasons are irrelevant. Speeding is dangerous and can cause serious injuries. After any accident involving serious injury, you should always speak to a personal injury attorney. When you are involved in an accident, you deserve just compensation for your injuries.

A personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence, interview expert witnesses, and take your case to court if necessary. Motor vehicle accidents can affect you physically, emotionally, and financially. These are not costs you should take on alone. If you have been injured and are ready to file a claim or have questions about your recent accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney to learn more about your rights.

About The Author

Zane T. Cagle

Zane T. Cagle is the founding president and lead trial attorney at The Cagle Law Firm. With a strong dedication to his clients, he has built a reputation for his tenacious representation in personal injury cases, ensuring each client's unique story is heard. Areas of Practice: Personal injury, motor vehicle accidents, wrongful death. Bar Admissions: Supreme Court of Missouri, Illinois & Kentucky. Superior Court of U.S. Virgin Islands Education: Washington University School of Law. Awards: Super Lawyers, Top 40 Under 40 by The National Trial Lawyers Association, 10 Best in Missouri for Customer Satisfaction.

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