Motor vehicle accidents and traffic fatalities are increasing in Ohio, despite efforts to crack down on drunk driving and texting. The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting today on another factor that increases the risk of a serious car accident: excessive speed. On average, there are approximately 1,000 tickets written each year in Ohio for speeds exceeding 100 m.p.h. However, in recent years for which data is available, the number of tickets written for speeds exceeding 100 m.p.h. increased by 23%. Strikingly, this data is only for tickets issued by the State Highway Patrol. It does not include statistics for local police departments or county sheriffs.
The Plain Dealer article further analyzed the likely reason behind this dangerous trend. They concluded that the rise in high-speed traffic violations coincides with the increase in the speed limit on Ohio’s highways. Put simply, the faster motorists are allowed to go, the faster they will speed.
Authorities have concluded that high speed is a factor in one-third of traffic accidents, and partially responsible for the increase in traffic deaths on Ohio’s roads. Obviously, a car crash will tend to lead to more serious injury when higher speeds are involved. Safety design and equipment is not built to withstand ultra-high speeds. Likewise, when semi-tractor trucks haul at extreme speeds, the likelihood of severe injury or wrongful death increases.
The PD article shares this terrifying example of a speed-related fatality: “One of the fastest speeds recorded came in 2013, when a Kent man drove nearly 150 mph on the Ohio Turnpike before he plowed into a minivan, killing an elderly couple.” When outrageous speed is involved in a collision, punitive damages may be warranted under Ohio law.
As an accident lawyer handling catastrophic car and truck accidents throughout Ohio, this new trend is disturbing. Hats off to the Plain Dealer for writing about this potential cause of serious motor vehicle accidents.
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