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Studies support the cry for slowing down

Hollywood often portrays soft-spoken and otherwise unassuming characters as having one endearing flaw: they are terrible drivers. Specifically, they do not seem to know how to control the speed of their vehicles. You may see movie scenes with mild-mannered drivers barreling along a highway with their wide-eyed passengers holding on for dear life. Yet they all seem to arrive safely at their destinations.

Unfortunately, this is the point in the movie where you may lose your ability to suspend your disbelief, especially if you or a loved one suffered grievous injuries in a motor vehicle accident caused by someone else's speeding.

Increasing evidence that speed kills

Driving faster than the posted speed is not a sign of coolness or courage even though many seem to think so. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board reports that traffic fatalities due to excessive speed rival the rate of fatal accidents caused by drunk drivers. The posted speed limit may not even be the safest speed at which to travel if you consider many current driver behaviors, such as texting or talking on the phone. Nevertheless, safety experts seem to discount speed as a contributing factor in many accidents.

You may be painfully aware of the damage a motor vehicle can cause when it collides with a pedestrian or another vehicle at a great speed. Research shows that the higher the speed, the lower the chances of survival in an ensuing accident. There are some changes that lawmakers and society can make that may begin to reduce the number of speeders on the roads, including:

  • Raising penalties for speeding to match those of drunk driving, such as license suspension
  • Creating a stigma for speeding similar to the one for drunk driving
  • Investigating alternative ways to arrive at safer speed limits
  • Reconfiguring road structures to prevent drivers from going too fast, such as including speed humps and curb bump-outs
  • Implementing speed cameras except in states that have banned them, such as Texas

Any of these factors may be a positive step toward preventing accidents like the one that left you or your loved one with serious injuries. However, the real change has to come from individual drivers. Until everyone on the road takes seriously the duty to operate their vehicles at a safe speed while keeping in mind the safety and well-being of others, you and your family will continue to face danger on the roads.

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