Speeding Causes Traffic Deaths in Ontario and Around the World

In November, road safety technology company Onlia released survey results that suggest speeding is the most common driving infraction in Canada. Eighty per cent of respondents admitted to speeding from time to time, compared with 30 per cent that admitted to road rage and 22 per cent that said they don’t check blind spots enough.

Interestingly, despite 80 per cent admitting to speeding, an overwhelming majority (88 per cent) of respondents said they ‘would give themselves an A or A+ for their driving skills,’ according to an Onlia press release. These contradictory results suggest Canadians view speeding as a minor offence, an everyday violation that isn’t ideal but shouldn’t be taken too seriously.

Law enforcement officers, road safety experts, and Toronto car accident lawyers disagree. In 2017, the OPP called speeding the “no. 1 cause” of fatalities on the roads it policed. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 30 per cent of traffic deaths in high-income countries and up to half of traffic deaths in low- and middle-income countries are caused by speeding. That estimate is supported by the US National Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which found that speeding contributed to 26 per cent of traffic deaths representing upwards of 9,700 fatalities in the USA in 2017, a number that fell to 9,378 last year.

What Makes Speeding So Dangerous?

Drivers who speed are more likely to be involved in a crash, more likely to sustain serious injuries, and more likely to seriously injure other road users. They also have more difficulty controlling their car and need significantly more space to come to a complete stop. A car travelling at 40 km/h requires roughly 8.5 metres to stop, while a car travelling at 50 km/h requires 13 metres.

According to WHO, every 1 per cent increase in mean speed results in a 3 per cent increase in risk of serious injury and a 4 per cent increase in fatal crash risk. Occupants of a vehicle involved in a crash at 30 km/h are 20 times more likely to survive than occupants of a vehicle that crashes at 80 km/h.

The correlation between speed and injury severity is even stronger for cyclists, pedestrians, and vulnerable road users. A pedestrian struck by a vehicle moving at 30 km/h has a 90 per cent chance of survival; at 45 km/h their chances diminish to less than 50 per cent, and at 80 km/h their injuries are likely to be fatal.

How Can We Reduce Speeding?

Stakeholders around the world, from Toronto car accident lawyers to WHO officials, are engaged in an active fight to improve road safety. Reducing speeding is an important part of that initiative. In the United States, the NHTSA provides guidelines and toolkits to help state and local governments design and implement speed management programs. These programs generally include defining the relationship between speed, speeding, and road safety; studying and applying road design and engineering solutions; setting reasonable and responsible speed limits; enforcing those speed limits through police action and technology solutions; and launching communication, awareness, and education campaigns.

These measures line-up with the World Health Organizations recommendations, which include setting, enforcing, and in some cases reducing speed limits; considering weather-, traffic-, and time-of-day-dependent speed limits; implementing infrastructure changes, including traffic calming measures such as roundabouts, speed humps, and rumble strips; and addressing vehicle design.

The City of Toronto has adopted many of these measures in its Vision Zero and Vision Zero 2.0 road safety strategies. However, there is concern among road safety advocates that the city is not adequately committed to reducing traffic deaths. Fatalities have not decreased since the first Vision Zero initiative was launched in 2016 and key recommendations from safety experts, including citywide speed limit reductions, have been ignored.

What to Do If You’ve Been Injured in a Speeding Accident

Car accidents involving speeding occur every day in Ontario, as Toronto car accident lawyers well know. If you’ve been involved in a serious accident, contact Will Davidson LLP to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced team of personal injury lawyers can provide guidance, advice, and support as you consider filing a personal injury claim and take the first steps on your road to recovery.

Will Davidson LLP has represented seriously injured accident victims in Ontario for decades. Our team has experience in every category of personal injury law and understands the unique challenges faced by victims of catastrophic injuries. In particular, we recognize that recovery from a serious injury requires significant physical, mental, and financial investment, which is why we offer all services on a contingency basis. Under this arrangement, our clients are not asked to pay legal fees or expenses until their lawsuit has been settled and compensation received. Contingency fees allow us to provide access to justice for Ontarians from all walks of life.

Image credit: Giannis Arvanitakis/Flickr

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