The years keep getting more deadly for Nevada drivers as time goes by. A recent report found that there were 331 traffic fatalities in 2018. That’s a 23 percent increase over the previous year. Zero Fatalities is a Nevada initiative aiming to reduce that number to zero. And while the state is not there yet, there has been a significant drop in traffic deaths in 2019. But why do these accidents continue to happen? And what can drivers do to reduce their odds of being in an accident? Do you need a car accident lawyer to help you after your injury.
A Look at the Numbers
When state officials analyze the year’s traffic data, they look at a variety of numbers. These numbers give lawmakers a better idea of why accidents happen and steps that can be taken to reduce traffic fatalities. Let’s take a look at some of the most recent numbers:
- In 2017, 30 percent of all traffic fatalities in Nevada were alcohol-related. This amounts to 99 lives lost that year. Between 2011 and 2015 there were 426 alcohol-related fatalities.
- Between 2011 and 2015, 517 vehicle occupants were killed in lane departure accidents.
- One in five people admit to running a red light in at least one of the last ten intersections they have passed through.
- 52 percent of all traffic fatalities in Nevada in 2016 involved an unrestrained occupant.
- Between 2012 and 2016, 301 people died because of a crash at an intersection. 62 percent of these accidents happened during daylight hours and 75 percent happened in Clark County.
- Between 2011 and 2015 there were 479 speeding-related fatalities in Nevada. Excessive speed accounts for approximately one-third of all traffic fatalities in the state.
So what do these numbers tell us? Driver error is the primary factor in most accidents in Nevada. But when it comes down to it, speeding kills more people in Nevada than any other factor.
The Mechanics of Excessive Speed
Speeding isn’t the only cause of car accidents and it isn’t just a Nevada problem. In 2017, over one-quarter of all traffic fatalities were a result of speeding. In Nevada, speeding doesn’t just mean exceeding the posted speed limit. A driver is guilty of a speeding violation if she drives her vehicle in a manner that is dangerous to other drivers, unreasonable for road or weather conditions, or faster than 80 miles per hour. Further, the law expects drivers to reduce their speed at hills, curves, intersections, and narrow roadways.
These rules are in place for a reason: speeding kills.
- The faster a vehicle is traveling, the longer it takes to stop: Stopping distance is a combination of driver reaction time and braking time. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car traveling at 40 miles per hour takes 164 feet to stop. That same car traveling at 55 miles per hour takes 265 feet to stop—an extra 100 feet.
- Excess speed equals decreased reaction time: Not only does a speeding car take more time to stop, it also has less time to react. If the car in front of you suddenly stops or an animal darts in front of your car, every second counts.
- Accidents involving higher speeds result in more severe injuries: A vehicle’s kinetic energy (the amount of energy that will need to be absorbed in a collision) is proportional to the vehicle’s speed squared. What this means is doubling your speed doesn’t just double the amount of energy in an accident, it quadruples it. Collisions involving high speeds are at extreme risk for serious injury or death.
Why Do People Speed?
If speeding is so dangerous, why do people continue to do it? Few of us drag race down the highway, but just about everyone drives a little over the speed limit from time-to-time (and some of us do it all the time). But as we saw earlier, increasing your speed by just 15 miles per hour can greatly increase the amount of time it takes to stop and the severity of injuries in a collision. So why do it? Common reasons drivers give for speeding include:
- Impatience: A study found that three out of five drivers get impatient with slower drivers. This can cause drivers to increase their speed to pass, or driver faster to make up for the lost time. Areas with high traffic or congestion are more likely to see impatient drivers.
- Running late: When drivers leave late, getting to their destination on time is their primary concern. Not only do these drivers increase their speed, but they are also more likely to weave in between traffic, cut off other drivers, and tailgate.
- The need for speed: The 2011 study found that not only did 27 percent of respondents admit that they enjoy the feeling of driving fast, but the same amount also said that speeding is something they do without thinking. And 20 percent said they try to get to their destination as fast as possible. Risk-takers who travel too fast for the thrill put themselves and other drivers at risk.
Staying Safe on the Road
There’s no doubt that speeding is dangerous. But beyond controlling your own speed, how do you stay safe on the road? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Move over: Speeding drivers are notorious for tailgating. If you see someone following too close, move over to allow them to pass.
- Stay back: Drivers driving at high speeds are at greater risk of losing control of their vehicle. If you are driving behind a speeding driver, keep your distance to avoid being involved in a collision.
- Buckle up: We can’t always avoid collisions, but we can take steps to reduce the odds of being severely injured. Wearing your seatbelt decreases your chances of serious injury or death by up to 50 percent. Regardless of how far you are traveling, always buckle up.
An accident with a speeding driver can leave you frightened and injured. It can cause not only physical scars, but emotional scars as well. If you were injured in an accident, you may qualify for financial compensation—and that’s something a licensed personal injury attorney can discuss with you.
Benson & Bingham
626 S 10th St
Las Vegas, NV 89101