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The Role of Speeding in Florida Car Accidents: Risks, Consequences, and Prevention

Car Accidents

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Although speeding in Florida is a violation of traffic laws, many Florida and out-of-state motorists are issued speeding tickets each year. In fact, speeding has increased over the years. It’s important to be aware that speeding is not only a bad practice but also can be considered negligence, particularly if someone is harmed as a result. If you or a loved one has been injured by a speeding driver, contact a Florida car accident attorney to learn whether you are entitled to compensation.  

Speeding Increases the Risk of Serious Car Accidents 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, one out of every four fatal car accidents in the United States is related to speeding. Data clearly shows that driving in excess of speed limits considerably increases the risk of accidents and the potential for serious personal injuries or fatalities. It is estimated that the economic cost of speed-related accidents exceeds $40 billion each year.

A National Transportation Safety Board study recently conducted on speeding reported that driving at increased speeds can be as risky as driving when impaired by drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, many drivers on Florida roads refuse to abide by speed limits. Unfortunately, however, this type of behavior can result in devastating car accidents. Other drivers are unable to effectively predict your stopping distances and braking habits if you push the speed limits. And speeding drivers often weave in and out of traffic and engage in other behaviors that are threatening to others on the road.

Why Do Drivers Speed?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which has researched the question on many occasions, has found that people speed for one of the following reasons:

  • Situational factors. Being in a hurry was often cited as a situational factor, as were the length of the trip and the driving environment. As an example, some drivers reported speeding only when on a long trip with few cars nearby. Others admitted speeding when they were late. 
  • Social pressure. If drivers nearby are speeding, people feel obligated to drive at the same speed so that they do not impede the flow of traffic. Also, many drivers believe that the risk of a traffic ticket is lower if everyone is speeding.
  • Inattention. Drivers often speed because they don’t know what the speed limit is or they aren’t paying attention to their driving speed. Factors such as traffic flow, driving a powerful vehicle, and playing music were cited as contributors to speeding. Some motorists also say that having passengers is a distraction.
  • It feels good to speed. Some drivers report that it feels good to speed, particularly if they drive a sports car.

Speeding is a prevalent issue on roads worldwide, contributing to a significant number of traffic accidents and fatalities each year. Despite awareness campaigns, law enforcement efforts, and the associated risks, many drivers continue to exceed speed limits. Understanding the reasons behind why people speed can provide insight into addressing this dangerous behavior and promoting safer driving habits. There are additional factors as well, such as:

1. Lack of Awareness or Perception of Risk:

Some drivers may underestimate the risks associated with speeding or fail to recognize the potential consequences of their actions. They may perceive speeding as a minor infraction or believe that they have the skills to handle their vehicle at high speeds. Additionally, drivers may be unaware of the specific dangers posed by speeding, such as increased stopping distances, reduced control, and the likelihood of severe injuries or fatalities in the event of a crash.

2. Perception of Road Conditions and Driving Skills:

Some drivers may believe that they can safely exceed speed limits under certain road and weather conditions or based on their perceived driving skills. They may rationalize speeding by considering factors such as light traffic, good weather, familiarity with the road, or the performance capabilities of their vehicle. However, these factors do not mitigate the increased risks associated with speeding and can contribute to overconfidence and reckless behavior.

3. Emotional Factors and Stress:

Emotional factors such as stress, anger, frustration, or road rage can influence a driver’s decision to speed. Individuals may use speeding as a way to vent their emotions or cope with stressful situations while driving. However, driving under emotional distress can impair judgment and increase the likelihood of aggressive or reckless behavior on the road.

4. Habitual Behavior and Reinforcement:

For some drivers, speeding may become a habitual behavior reinforced by past experiences or perceived benefits. If drivers have engaged in speeding without experiencing negative consequences in the past, they may be more likely to continue this behavior in the future. Additionally, the perceived rewards of speeding, such as arriving at their destination sooner or feeling a sense of exhilaration, can reinforce the behavior and make it more difficult to change.

5. Lack of Enforcement and Consequences:

Inadequate enforcement of speed limits and lenient consequences for speeding violations can contribute to a culture of impunity and encourage drivers to disregard traffic laws. When drivers perceive a low risk of getting caught or facing meaningful penalties for speeding, they may be more inclined to engage in this behavior without fear of repercussions.

Speeding is a complex behavior influenced by various factors, including time pressure, social norms, perceived risks, emotional states, and reinforcement mechanisms. Addressing the root causes of speeding requires a multifaceted approach that includes education, enforcement, awareness campaigns, and interventions targeting individual attitudes and behaviors on the road. By understanding why people speed and addressing these underlying factors, we can work towards promoting safer driving habits and reducing the prevalence of speeding-related accidents.

Consequences of Speeding 

If you speed only a few miles per hour over the speed limit, you might get a speeding ticket and a fine. But excessive speeding is a different matter, and may result in harsh penalties, including serving time in prison.

Significantly, Florida’s speeding laws set up several levels of punishment and even overlap with the state’s reckless driving laws. This legal framework gives prosecutors a great deal of flexibility in seeking to punish speeders but can cause some legal ambiguity as you try to figure out what laws you broke and how best to defend yourself. 

Driving less than 30 miles per hour over the speed limit is a noncriminal traffic infraction. Driving 30 or more miles over the speed limit in Florida is a traffic misdemeanor. If you’re caught driving 50 or more miles over the speed limit, you will be charged with a felony traffic violation. A first conviction for speeding more than 50 MPH over the speed limit will result in a fine of $1,000. Upon a second conviction, your license will be revoked for one year, and your fine will be $2,500. On a third offense, you could be charged with a third-degree felony. If convicted, you can serve up to 5 years in prison, up to 5 years of probation, up to $5,000 in fines, and your license can be revoked for up to 10 years.

Excessive speeding may also be charged as a felony for first-time offenders. This happens when you get charged under Florida’s reckless driving statute, and personal injury results from the speeding violation.

For each driving violation, points will be added to your driving record. A single speeding ticket will not give you enough points for a driver’s license suspension, but multiple speeding tickets or a speeding ticket combined with other tickets could result in a driver’s license suspension. As you can see, the consequences for speeding can be very serious for your driving record and your ability to continue driving your car.

How to Prevent Speeding

In many cases, speeding is a mindset. It may be a belief that the rules do not apply to you, that you will not get caught, or that it is not dangerous. But these fallacies put you, your passengers, and other drivers and pedestrians at risk. Here are a couple of tips that should help curb your speeding:

  • Give yourself more time to get where you’re going, and factor in the time of day to make allowances for rush hour.
  • Use your cruise control. This is one of the easiest ways to control speeding.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for signs so that you know what the speed limit is. 
  • Check your speedometer regularly.
  • Consider the consequences. Is speeding worth paying a fine, losing your license, injuring someone, or being injured yourself?
  • Don’t let others determine your speed. Move to the right lane if you’re feeling other drivers are pushing you to drive too fast.

Contact a Florida Car Accident Attorney

Searcy Denney has many years of experience helping people who have been involved in car accidents just like yours. We have the experience, knowledge, and track record to give you the best representation possible. Contact us today at 800-780-8607.

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