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PERSONAL INJURY ON THE RISE WHEN PEOPLE FORGET THAT SPEEDING KILLS

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Whether you are having fun racing with your friends or just late for work, speeding is never a good idea. Just yesterday, another preventable speeding tragedy happened on a local toll road here in Orange County. A woman from Ladera Ranch, only 18 years old, was speeding her Porsche at over 100 miles per hour when she decided to pass on the right and clipped a motorist. She lost control and swerved into several lanes of traffic and then hit a toll booth.

This was a preventable tragedy that we hear about all too often. In fact, in 2006, speeding was a contributing factor in 31% of all fatal crashes, and 13,543 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes. The economic cost of speeding-related crashes is estimated to be $40.4 billion each year.

Research is clear with the correlation between increased speed and risk of injury or death. For example, if one is driving in a 35 mph zone and is driving 40 mph, they will be twice as likely to be involved in an injury accident. When the speed of your vehicle increases to 45 mph, the risk increases to four times.

Small differences in speed mean differences both in time to collision and ability to avoid a crash. Even if a vehicle cannot be stopped in the available distance, the collision can still sometimes be avoided. When a driver is speeding there is less time for both that driver and any other road user (either a pedestrian or another driver) to recognize the danger, decide on evasive action (braking, swerving) and completing that action. Basically, a vehicle traveling at higher speeds are more difficult to maneuver.

Thirty nine percent of all speeding accidents occur with males between 15-20 years old. Wouldn’t it be great if parents could monitor their teen drivers? Well, if one Australian company, Smart Car technologies, has its way, then this new technology may be in the US soon.

The product called Speed Alert basically is a portable device that does not need to be hooked up with the car’s speedometer. It is a GPS receiver that is placed on a dashboard and that device communicates with a PDA via a Bluetooth wireless connection. If a driver exceeds the speed limit then the speed is shown on the PDA. In addition, a voice will also let you know that you are approaching a school zone. It even has the ability to record speeding violations, so parents can monitor their teenage drivers.

Surveys reveal that over 90% of all licensed drivers speed at some point in their driving career, so we can’t blame the speeding only on all of the teens. In fact, 75% of drivers admit to speeding on a regular basis. So who are the reckless drivers? They are young, middle-aged, and old; men and women; they drive luxury cars, sports cars, SUVs and family cars.
Since we all know that speeding is dangerous, the only tip we can recommend is slowing down. However, there are road characteristics, weather conditions and time of day that on road speeding is especially dangerous. They are as follows:
· 87% of all speeding-related fatalities occurred on roads other than interstate highways. These include dirt, rural and two lane roads · 55% of fatal crashes occurred on a snowy, slushy or icy road · 76% of speeding drivers had accidents between midnight and 3 am. These accidents “s had alcohol involvement.

Stay safe and slow down.