Every year, hundreds—if not thousands—of auto accidents in Seattle occur because of speeding. Driving too fast is one of the most common contributing factors to collisions across the U.S., and all too often, it is deadly. In 2017, speeding led to 9,717 fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These deaths accounted for 26% of all traffic fatalities that year.
What Is Speeding in the State of Washington?
Pursuant to the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 46.61.400, no one shall drive a vehicle on a highway, which means any public roadway, at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and based on the actual and potential hazards that exist. Speed shall be controlled so as to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle, or other objects on or entering a roadway.
This law is important. Note that it does not say speeding only means driving faster than the posted limit. That is only one way to be caught speeding. Instead, the law says drivers need to operate a vehicle at a speed that is reasonable and prudent given the conditions. That means drivers need to consider the weather, road conditions, traffic, and presence of pedestrians and children when determining an appropriate speed.
Based on this law, an individual can be considered speeding while driving at or below the speed limit.
Take a busy I-5 as an example. Washington’s speed limit for highways is 60 mph. Some areas of I-5 have been reduced to 50 mph. However, any Seattle-area driver knows that I-5 can become far too busy to drive at those speeds. Attempting to drive 50 mph significantly increases the risk of collision when a considerable amount of traffic is moving at 40-45 mph or slower.
Why Speeding Is Dangerous
There are always risks associated with driving. Even vehicles moving at 35 mph can cause another person serious harm or significantly damage a bicycle, motorcycle, or other cars. But the faster a vehicle is moving, the greater the likelihood of an accident and the greater the chance of serious injuries and fatalities.
As the NHTSA explains, there are several reasons for this:
- When speeding, the driver faces a greater risk of losing control of the vehicle. This is especially true during poor weather. For all the rain we get in Seattle, the pavement often has standing water or is damp.
- The faster a vehicle is moving, the greater the distance it takes the vehicle to stop. Drivers may not have time to stop without avoiding a collision once they notice a hazard.
- The vehicle’s protective equipment, including seat belts and airbags, may be less effective at higher speeds.
Were You Injured in a Speed-Related Crash?
When you are injured in a car accident in Seattle or King County, it is important to question whether the other driver was speeding.
Evidence of the other driver’s speeding may help you establish that driver’s negligence and obtain compensation.
If you believe the other driver was driving faster than the speed limit or faster than what was reasonable and prudent given the circumstances, talk with a Seattle car accident lawyer about what to do next.
Proving the Other Driver Was Speeding
If the other driver’s high speed was one contributing factor or the main cause of the crash that caused you harm, then you may need to gather evidence that the driver was speeding in order to obtain a settlement or court award.
However, you cannot merely claim the other driver was speeding, you need evidence that supports that fact.
To prove the other driver was speeding, we can use the accident report. The officer may have noted that the driver was going faster than the speed limit or too fast for current conditions. The officer may have even given the other driver a speeding ticket.
Your Seattle car accident lawyer may obtain statements from eyewitnesses. Other drivers may have noticed that the other vehicle was moving faster than other cars on the road.
In some circumstances, we may be able to obtain video footage from nearby traffic cameras or businesses’ surveillance cameras. However, this will depend on the location of the crash and whether any cameras were nearby and caught the collision or the other vehicle’s movement in the seconds before the crash.
We may be able to gather physical evidence that may establish the other driver’s speeding in the seconds before the collision, including photos of skid marks on the road, debris that was flung from the accident into the road, and the extent of the damage to both vehicles. More significant damage typically equates to faster moving vehicles.
Additionally, some newer vehicles are high tech and record various data while the vehicle is in operation. For example, if the other driver was in a Tesla, the Event Data Recorder will have information regarding the speed at which the vehicle was moving in the seconds before the crash.
Contact Menzer Law Firm For Help
If you were injured in a crash caused by a speeding driver, do not hesitate to reach out to our Seattle personal injury lawyers at (206) 903-1818.