There has been a concerning rise in speeding-related fatalities in Washington State.
Car accidents happen every year in Washington State, and too often, they result in fatalities. According to preliminary data, there were 750 statewide traffic fatalities in 2022. This is a marked increase from recent years. Between 2015 and 2020, the number of traffic fatalities remained relatively stable at around 550 each year.
There were 37 traffic fatalities in Clark County last year, up one from the year before. Common factors in these fatal crashes include drugs, distracted driving, and alcohol. But 19 of those fatalities – just over half – involved speeding.
Between 2015 and 2019, traffic fatalities in Clark County remained fairly stable, averaging 26.2 each year. But since 2020, there have been roughly 40 per year.
The number of fatalities involving speeding in 2022 rose 36 percent between 2013 and 2021.
"People are reverting to risk factors that had widely improved over the past three decades," said Jesamie Peters, Region 6 Target Zero manager for the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.
Road deaths linked to levels of law enforcement officers
Peters said commission data shows a direct correlation between reduced law enforcement and increased traffic fatalities. Washington State has one of the country's lowest levels of law enforcement officers per capita.
Speeding increases the risk of accidents and contributes to fatalities for several reasons:
- Reduced reaction time – When a vehicle travels at a high speed, the driver has less time to react to unexpected events, such as sudden stops, obstacles in the road, or other vehicles changing lanes.
- Increased stopping distance – Speeding requires a longer distance to bring a vehicle to a complete stop. If a driver needs to brake suddenly, their vehicle may not be able to stop in time to avoid a collision.
- Difficulty in negotiating turns – Speeding makes it harder to navigate curves and turns safely. Excessive speed can cause a driver to lose control of their vehicle, leading to accidents, especially on winding roads.
- Less margin for error – Speeding reduces the margin for error in driving. Even minor mistakes, such as momentarily taking your eyes off the road or misjudging the speed of oncoming traffic, can lead to accidents.
- Greater impact force – In a collision, the force of impact increases with speed. This means that accidents at higher speeds result in more severe injuries and damage to vehicles.
Peters has suggested adding more law enforcement officers and passing stricter driving under the influence laws to make roads safer in the state.
An experienced car accident attorney can seek justice for crash victims
A fatal car crash caused by speeding can leave families in mourning, and they may also be faced with medical and burial expenses. Survivors of speeding-related accidents also must deal with overwhelming medical bills and may miss time from work, resulting in a loss of income.
However, recovering financial compensation after an accident caused by a speeding driver can be complicated. Negligent drivers may deny driving above the speed limit. Insurance companies will try to minimize claims so they can pay as little as possible.
That's why you need an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. Attorney Colin Scott of The Scott Law Firm PLLC understands the impact a speeding-related accident can have on victims and their families. He builds strong cases and is dedicated to helping clients recover the financial compensation they deserve.
If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a speeding-related accident in Vancouver or anywhere in Clark County, we can help. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.