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Speeding and Driving Too Fast for Conditions Are Leading Causes of Fatal Crashes in California

Speeding and driving too fast are leading causes of fatal crashes in California, says our Santa Barbara car accident attorney


There are a number of dangerous behaviors that contribute to serious car accidents. Among them, driving faster than the posted speed limit is the leading cause of fatal crashes in the state of California, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Even so, many drivers in Southern California, particularly younger drivers, feel it is safe to exceed the posted speed limit. A survey conducted for the California Office of Traffic Safety found that more than half of the motorists surveyed in Southern California believed it was safe to drive 10 miles an hour above the speed limit.

The views varied significantly by the age of drivers. More than 66 percent of younger drivers in Southern California perceived that it was safe to drive 10 mph above the speed limit. Meanwhile, 15 percent of drivers ages 25 to 34 felt it was safe to drive 20 miles above the speed limits—the highest percentage of any age group.

In California, 961 people died in speed-related car accidents including 10 people in Santa Barbara County in the most recent year of data, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Drivers who are speeding are more likely to be involved in rollover accidents, which can lead to serious injuries including head injuries and traumatic brain injuries.

Top Causes of Fatal Crashes

Speed is often a factor in other unsafe driver behaviors including reckless driving and aggressive driving, drunk driving, running traffic lights and erratic lane changing. An article in Business Insider highlights the top causes of fatal crashes across the nation. The article lists the following as some of the top causes:

  • Careless or reckless driving;
  • Road rage;
  • Improper or erratic lane changing;
  • Police pursuit;
  • Failure to yield the right of way;
  • Failure to obey sign;
  • Driving on the wrong side.

Speeding and Fatal Crashes

Speeding takes a toll on drivers, passengers, and economies across the nation. In the year 2014, there were 9,262 lives lost due to speeding, and speeding was a contributing factor in 28 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2014. The NHTSA estimates that speed-related crashes cost the country more than $40 billion each year.

What can be particularly dangerous is when a person decides to get behind the wheel while intoxicated. In 2014, 41 percent of speeding drivers in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or above.

Of all of the dangerous driving behaviors, speeding is the number one aggressive driving behavior.

Deadliest Driving Behaviors – How to Reduce California Car Accident Fatalities

Reducing the number of California car accident fatalities is a goal that everyone should support. Keep in mind that the faster you drive, the less time you will have to react and avoid an accident if another driver does something unexpected. You can reduce your risk of being in a car accident or endangering the life of someone else by obeying the speed limit or traveling at a slower speed that is safe for traffic and weather conditions, buckling up, staying calm, driving sober, and putting away distractions.

When Dangerous Behavior Leads to an Accident

If you have been involved in a car crash caused by a dangerous driver in California, our attorneys at Andrade Law Office want to help you. To learn about your legal options after a crash caused by another driver, including how to file a personal injury claimcontact the Santa Barbara County car accident team at the Andrade Law Offices. The initial consultation is always free.