Drivers involved in high-speed accidents are often intoxicated

There's No Substitute for Experience

Figures released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that accidents involving vehicles traveling at a speed above the posted limit claimed the lives of 197 people on the roads of Tennessee in 2012. Driving at an excessive speed was linked to about 30 percent of all fatal traffic accidents by the safety agency, and only 12 percent of these crashes occurred on interstate highways. Fatal speed-related collisions in Tennessee most often took place on local streets.

The federal agency says that speed-related car accidents claim more than 10,000 lives and cost society approximately $40 billion each year. Young men are the group most likely to be involved in a high-speed collision, and only about half of these younger drivers were restrained by a safety belt in 2012. The data also reveals that fatal motorcycle accidents are more likely to involve excessive speed than crashes involving cars or light trucks.

The NHTSA statistics also show a clear link between speeding and drinking and driving. Drivers involved in fatal accidents where speed did not play a role were found to be intoxicated 16 percent of the time, but the number of motorists with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or above rose to 42 percent in speed-related crashes. The correlation between speeding and alcohol consumption is even more stark when accidents occur at night. Drivers involved in a fatal high speed accident between the hours of midnight and 3:00 a.m. were discovered to be intoxicated 69 percent of the time.

Drivers who cause an accident while speeding may face criminal penalties, and they could also be subject to civil sanctions. When negligent behavior such as speeding causes injuries, loss or damage, an attorney may choose to file a lawsuit on behalf of the victim against the driver responsible. Establishing that a vehicle was speeding at the time of an accident may sometimes be challenging, and attorneys may conduct their own investigations when the accident reports provided by law enforcement agencies are inconclusive.

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