I have to admit to liking speed; driving fast, I mean really fast has a certain thrill to it. The fastest I’ve ever driven is 134 m.p.h. Where? I’m not saying, other than that it was an isolated area of Iowa. I was driving a Porsche Boxster S. Very sweet ride.  There is something about driving fast that is a thrill, but I realize that speed can kill. The faster you’re driving the longer it takes to stop. The faster your car is going the less time you have to react to unforeseen circumstances. And the faster you are driving the less control you have over the car. Most street cars aren’t designed for high speeds. The tires on most sedans aren’t Z-rated, meaning they are little skinny tires with not much tread on the road’s surface. That means once you’re out of control you’re really out of control with little hope of getting the car back in control and with the shiny side up.

I learned to drive when I was 15 and was taught that for every ten miles an hour you’ll need at least one car length to safely stop without rear ending the car in front of you. When I’m driving and in the rear view mirror can’t see the license plate of the guy behind me, I know he’s too close to stop without rear ending me. On the Interstate that’s just dump.

Follow the link and ake a look at a speed chart; it’s a quick way to determine skid lengths and stopping distances. I’ve listed links to skid mark calculators on the Lombardi Law Firm website.  Here is another speed chart for our European readers.

What if you want a quick and dirty estimate? You could use a speed chart such as the one offered by Technical Services - Forensic Engineering. TSFS offers course for attorneys for The Science of Accident Reconstruction. Look at this chart and study it; you’ll see that you need distance with speed and have less time to react to what isn’t going to be a pleasant ending.

Being in a hurry doesn’t help. Texting or talking on the cell phone just makes it worse by adding distractions and reducing the time you have to evaluate the situation and realize you’re about to get in trouble.

In the United States we’ve raised the interstate speed limit from 55 to 70 and in some parts 75 mph. During this period what has happened with the number of deaths? Is it 80 or “whatever” in Montana? Take a look at what one researcher wrote about the increased speeds and statistically the increasing dangers.

The University of Illinois School of Public Health studied accidents from 1995 to 2005 to determine the impact on the speed increase on accidents. The study examined deaths and injuries in fatal car crashes on rural interstate highways, urban interstates and non-interstate road, and found the speed increase resulted in 2,545 deaths and an additional 36,582 injuries.

All told, the study found that deaths and injuries increased by 3.2% over the ten-year period, while rural road deaths increased by an alarming 9.1%. Lead researcher Lee S. Friedman says the easy way to solve the increases in deaths and injuries would be to drop the speed limit back to 55 mph, adding "Researchers have demonstrated that lower travel speeds and death tolls usually follow lowering of speed limits, and higher travel speeds and death tolls follow increases in speed limits."

See, STUDY: Raising national speed limit has resulted in 12,500 deaths.

In 2006, 42,642 people were killed in the estimated 5,973,000 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes, 2,575,000 people were injured, and 4,189,000 crashes involved property damage only.

See Traffic Safety Facts, Updated with 2008 data.

From 1996 to 2006 on average between 42,000 and 43,000 people die each year in the United States from car collisions. During that same period between 3.5 and 2.5 million people were injured. The good news is that the number of injuries from crashes is decreasing.

Speeding is reported in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) as a driver-level attribute that combines “driving too fast for conditions" or "in excess of posted speed limit.” There is a growing need to parse out these two factors, especially for those designing countermeasures. The report, using data from the State Data System quantifies the extent of these two aspects related to speeding using data from six States whose police accident reports actually parse these out. The result of this analysis shows that this really depends on the severity of the crash. In fatal crashes, about 55 percent of all speed-ing-related crashes were due to “exceeding posted speed limits” as compared to the 45 percent that were due to “driving too fast for conditions.” The comparable percentages for speeding-related injury crashes were 26 percent versus 74 percent and those for PDO (property-damage-only) crashes were 18 percent versus 82 percent.

The second aspect examined in this study is how these crashes, which related to the factors “driving too fast for conditions” or “ex-ceeding posted speed limit,” were affected by roadway environments. It shows that the speeding-related crashes that were due to “driving too fast for conditions” were more likely to have occurred on roads with higher speed limits (50+ mph) as compared to other crashes. Roadway environments analyzed also include: roadway surface conditions, roadway alignment, and intersection/intersection-related roadway segment.

An Analysis of Speeding-Related Crashes: Definitions and the Effects of Road Environments

Certainly this isn’t the goal we have in the United States. I too want to get there faster and God knows I hate driving 55; it seems to take so much longer to get to where I’m going. But the math indicates otherwise.

Read what this writer had to say about driving too fast and how often that is the precipitating cause of fatalities in car and truck accidents.

Speeding is one of the most common contributing factors of traffic crashes. Data extracted from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) show that the driver-level attribute “driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit” is the critical contributing factor in more than 99 percent of all speeding-related fatal crashes, as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A marginal number of drivers were determined to be speeding through citations of speeding violations reported to FARS.

In this study, two aspects related to speeding-related crashes are examined. One is how each of the two individual factors, “driving too fast for conditions” (DTFFC) and “exceeding posted speed limit” (EPSL), contributed to speeding-related crashes. The other aspect is how these speeding-related crashes, which related to the factor DTFFC or EPSL were affected by road environments. Road environments examined include: posted speed limit, road surface conditions, road alignment, and road intersection/intersection-related. Data from NHTSA’s State Data System (SDS) was used in the analyses. ••••••

In fatal crashes, about 55 percent of all speeding-related crashes were due to EPSL as compared to the 45 percent that were due to DTFFC. A marginal number (about 0.4 percent) of all fatal crashes were determined to be speeding-related through citations of speeding violations issued to the driver. In speeding-related crashes that resulted in one or more injuries, about 26 percent of the crashes were due to EPSL as compared to the 74 percent that were due to DTFFC.

…. The variance of the population density, road speed limit, weather conditions, economic status, education level, etc. among the States might have played a role in this difference. Speeding-related crashes that were due to DTFFC were more likely to have occurred on roads with higher speed limits (50+ mph) as compared to other crashes. Speeding-related crashes that were due to EPSL occur on either lower speed limit (less than 50 mph) roads or higher speed limit (50+ mph) roads as compared to other crashes.

In speeding-related crashes that were due to DTFFC, the relative proportions of crashes that occurred under adverse road surface conditions (“Snowy/Slushy/Icy/Slippery” and “Wet”) were much higher during cooler months (December to March), as compared to other crashes. This seasonality was relatively weak as a contributing factor in speeding-related crashes that were due to the factor EPSL.

The relative proportion of crashes that occurred on the curved sections of the road was much higher in speeding-related (DTFFC or EPSL) crashes. There was no important variation of this relative proportion across the month of the year. Speeding-related (DTFFC or EPSL) crashes were more likely to have occurred on non-intersection/non-intersection-related stretches of roads. There was no important variation of this relative proportion across the month of the year.

And the author opined, exactly what we discussed above:

Speeding is one of the most prevalent factors contributing to traffic crashes. It reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while a driver reacts to a dangerous situation. Higher crash speeds also reduce the ability of vehicle, restraint system, and roadway hardware such as guardrails, barriers, and impact attenuators to protect vehicle occupants.

Table 1: Speeding-Related Fatal Crashes

by NHTSA Definition During


Driving Too Fast for Conditions or


Speed-Related ** Offenses



In Excess of Posted Speed Limit*

(Since 1998)

(Since 1997)









































































And so today we’ll end just knowing that speed kills for many different reasons. And let’s post this blog and see what Devon has to say. I see that my Hawaiian friend, Wayne Parsons wrote his post and was right to point out the idea is to encourage people to think and save lives. Save lives in Michigan (Mittelman’s firm), Hawaii (Parsons’ Law Firm) and here in Iowa, through my own posts. Wayne’s point was not missed by me; “The goal we have set up for ou
Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
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