Speeding to Blame
An out of control — possibly intoxicated — driver caused a chain reaction that sent three people to the hospital in a Dallas Christmas evening crash. The accident occurred at 5:00 pm on the Dallas North Tollway Northbound lanes stretching from Walnut Hill Lane to Northwest Highway. The driver of a black BMW sports utility vehicle was speeding and rammed into another SUV, setting off the chain reaction that involved seven cars. The traffic accident blocked the highway for close to two hours Thursday night while rescue crews helped the three injured occupants and law enforcement cleared the wreckage. Thankfully, the injuries are not life-threatening.
Speeding a Common Factor in Texas Crashes
Crash statistics released by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) indicates that failing to control speed was a contributing factor in 26,691 total crashes, resulting in 785 deaths and 8,519 serious injuries in 2013. Dallas County had the highest number of speed-related accidents and the second highest rate of speed-related fatalities at 65 deaths. Tarrant County had the fourth highest number of speed-related deaths. Harris County (Houston) was first in this tragic rating.
Relationship of Speed to Injury Risk and Severity
The Insurance Institute for Highways Safety (IIHS) conducted a review of speeding studies in its 2005 report titled Relation of Speed and Speed Limits to Crashes. Researchers made several conclusions from the multiple studies that should make drivers want to slow down.
The overall crash relationship to travel speed follows a U-shaped curve,
described as the Solomon Curve or the Cirillo Curve after the
researchers. According to these graphs, crash rates are the lowest when
motorists maintain speeds at near the mean speed and increase
exponentially when motorists drive above or below the mean — which
explains why speeding and stop-and-go traffic are such a dangerous
The report demonstrates that the risk of being involved in an accident
with injuries is lowest when the drivers travel at near or below the
median speed and increase exponentially as the speeds increase. Also
speed change is a substantial factor in accidents. This can be
problematic because, as the researchers found, lower than average
traffic speeds may be unavoidable due to real-life traffic conditions
and vehicle maneuvers — for example, reducing speed to exit a highway.
However, consistent law enforcement action can address higher than
average speeds. This is important because as speed at the time of a
crash increases, so does the severity of the injuries. In fact the
chances of being killed in a crash go up exponentially to the increases
in the driver speed.
Slow Down for the Holidays
The holidays give us a chance to reflect and spend time with
loved ones. Slowing down on the road should also be part of our holiday.
Luckily, nobody was more seriously injured during Thursday’s pile-up,
but the accident surely affected the holiday plans of everyone involved.
Instead of getting to their destinations quicker, these drivers were
stuck on the roadside or in a hospital, proving once again that speeding does not pay off.
If you were injured by a negligent driver, you can count on Bill Berenson. Call our Dallas-Fort Worth law office at 817-885-8000 or toll free at 888-801-8585 to schedule your free consultation.