Focusing on the Speedometer Could Make You More Dangerous Behind the Wheel
Car wrecks are an unfortunately common occurrence in Florida and throughout the United States. While some car crashes are the result of weather or road conditions, many are caused by driver errors. Speeding in particular has been shown to be a factor in an alarming number of serious and fatal accidents. Florida law enforcement agencies are teaming up with federal highway officials to address the problem.
While police enforcement and traffic cameras may make drivers more aware of the rate of speed at which they are driving, there is some evidence that paying too much attention to the speed gauges on your dashboard could actually increase your risk of car accidents and injuries caused by distracted driving. The following provides important information for drivers as to how strict speed law enforcement could end up making you more dangerous behind the wheel.
Car Crashes Caused By Speeding
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is a factor in more 40 percent of all fatal traffic accidents. Whether an accident involves other cars, trucks, motorcycles, or pedestrians, going over the speed limit or even driving too fast for conditions increases the likelihood that any injuries in a crash will be severe and even deadly. There are several reasons why speeding is so dangerous for motorists and their passengers, as well as for other vehicles on the road:
- Speeding makes it harder to maintain control of your vehicle, particularly in difficult driving conditions such as in heavy rain;
- Speeding reduces the amount of time you have as a driver to respond to changes in traffic patterns or the presence of obstacles in the roadway, such as a vehicle stopped in an active lane of traffic;
- Speeding increases the velocity of impact, resulting in more severe injuries. Drivers and passengers may be thrown into dashboards or windshields, or ejected from the vehicle.
In addition to the above, NHTSA research indicates that drivers who engage in speeding are more likely to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and are less likely to be wearing seat belts.
Florida Law Enforcement Effort to Reduce Speeding
While the NHTSA reports that the District of Columbia and New Hampshire are among the states with the highest rate of speed-related accidents, the Sunshine State is actually among the lowest, with roughly ten percent of all traffic fatalities being speed-related. A good part of the credit for this goes to the efforts of the Florida State Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies, for taking an aggressive stance in apprehending speeders before they can cause harm to themselves or anyone else.
As part of a national effort, the Florida Department of Transportation’s speed control program consists of several parts:
- Problem identification, which includes research to define the relationship between speeding and road safety;
- Engineering methods, such as improving roads and setting realistic speed limits for drivers;
- Communications and educational efforts to raise awareness and target driver’s most likely to engage in speeding, such as such as in school programs geared to young drivers;
- Enforcement measures, which include cameras, speed lasers, and speed traps set up at areas most common for speeding and speed related traffic accidents.
State law enforcement takes speeding seriously, and sees apprehending speeders as a matter of life and death. Officers are instructed to be on the lookout for drivers going over the posted speed limits and to issue tickets to speeders.
How Speed Enforcement Could Lead to Distracted Driving
While enforcing speed limits and aggressive stopping and ticketing of drivers appear to be working at reducing the number of speed-related accidents in Florida, a recent study claims that strict enforcement could pose a danger for other types of car crashes and traffic accidents. An October 2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation report cites research showing that strict law enforcement efforts against speeding caused drivers to look down more frequently at their dashboards to monitor their speed in driving simulations. While frequently checking the speedometer may help drivers keep their speed in check, it increases the risk of being involved in distracted driving accidents.
According to the U.S. government website Distraction.gov, distracted driving involves engaging in any activity that takes your eyes, hands, and attention from the road in front of you. Distracted driving accidents are problem of growing concern. While distracted driving is most commonly associated with texting or using cellphones behind the wheel, repeatedly glancing at your speedometer or other electronics in the car as you are driving down the road is just as likely to pose a risk of accident. Diverting your eyes for even five seconds while traveling at speeds of 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.
The best way to avoid traffic accidents as well as speeding tickets in Florida is to obey speed limits and slow down. Driving several miles per hour under the speed limit gives you a slight cushion and allows you to keep both your eyes and your attention on the road. This way, you can be alert for traffic situations around you, such as other drivers who stopping suddenly or moving into your lane.
Contact Our Florida Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car crash or traffic accident, contact the Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, PLLC today. Our experienced Florida car accident lawyers provide the aggressive legal representation you need to hold responsible drivers accountable for the damages they have caused, and can assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.
Jim Holliday has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in restitution for their injuries.