Kansas City Royals fans were devastated to learn than pitcher Yordano Ventura was recently killed in a car wreck in the Dominican Republic. Investigators looking into the cause of the crash believe excessive speed may have played a role. Unfortunately, if this were true, this would only be one in a long line of fatal traffic crashes where speed was a factor. Statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the federal government show:
- Speeding is the third most common factor contributing to traffic crashes (distracted driving and impaired driving are the first and second most common factors, respectively);
- Speeding plays a role in approximately one-third of all traffic crashes in the nation;
- Speeding is a factor in about 40 percent of all fatal traffic crashes involving males between the ages of 15 and 20;
- About 13,000 people die annually in fatal speeding crashes; and
- Crashes in the USA caused by speeding cost about $40 billion each year – for every minute you save on travel time by speeding, you cost society about $76,000.
Speeding is dangerous in large part because (1) it reduces the amount of time a driver has to react to hazards or avoid collisions; (2) it affects the handling of a car – a car traveling at excessive speeds responds differently to input from the steering wheel than it does at lower speeds; and (3) it increases the distance and time necessary to bring the vehicle to a stop.
Compensation After Speeding Accidents
If you or a loved one are involved in a fatal speeding accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the speeding driver (you may be entitled to compensation even if you or your loved one was partly to blame for the crash). Unlike a drunk driving accident, however, it may not always be apparent if the other involved motorist was, in fact, speeding. Thankfully, there may be evidence available to help you and your car crash attorney determine if excessive speed played a role in the crash:
- The car’s “black box”: This is a computerized device that records important information about the vehicle in the critical few seconds before a crash. This data includes the speed of the vehicle (broken down in time increments) as well as whether the driver of the car applied the brakes of the car.
- Skid marks: When a car traveling at a high rate of speed suddenly applies the brakes, skid marks may be left on the asphalt. Accident reconstruction experts and some law enforcement officers are specially trained to determine an approximate speed of a vehicle based upon the skid marks left.
- Witness observations: Although a lay witness (that is, one without any specialized knowledge or skills) cannot testify as to a specific speed of a vehicle, courts in Kansas have allowed lay witnesses to testify whether a vehicle appeared to be traveling in excess of the posted speed limit.
Locating and preserving this important evidence becomes critical, then, to the success of your car crash lawsuit. Your attorney will know what steps to take to ensure the black box data is preserved and the identity and testimony of witnesses secured, as well as whether an accident reconstruction expert is necessary.
Michael R. Lawless is a Kansas-based car crash injury attorney helping motorists who have been injured in traffic collisions caused by another driver’s excessive speed. Michael R. Lawless is experienced in and has the resources necessary to determine if speed was a factor in your crash and is committed to holding those who carelessly or recklessly speed accountable for their actions. Contact Kansas Car Accident Lawyer Michael R. Lawless by calling (800) 734-3771 if you or a loved one have been injured or killed in a speeding-related crash.