Paul Walker, a Porsche, and a Speedy Friend

Porsche Carrera GT – FrontWould a Lower Speed Limit have Saved Them?

Speed and traffic fatalities entered the spotlight once again with the November 30, 2013 death of Paul Walker.  A passenger in a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, Walker died when the driver lost control and hit a light post and a tree before setting fire.  The driving speed at the time was over 100 mph.

However, speed is not the only item being discussed in this tragedy.  Engineers at Porsche are also concerned because their very rare and prized model is also notoriously difficult to handle.

This much publicized accident shows the causes of traffic deaths are often varied and complex.  Causes of these fatalities receive this attention due to a persistent death rate from car accidents and the costs of those accident.

To build a good case proving negligence, a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas must assess each case individually and understand the many factors causing car accidents.  A personal injury attorney in Las Vegas understands more than one negligence theory may be necessary and keeping to only one theory, such as “speed kills”, can hurt a case.

Speed and Fatality

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, among other groups promoting driver safety, supports lowering speed limits.  In their view, low speed limits leads to slower driving and better control.  In theory, that decreases traffic fatality.

Research and statistics appear to support that theory.  In 2011, 9,944 traffic fatalities, or 31% of all traffic fatalities, involved excessive speed and out of 246 traffic fatalities in Nevada 76 were speed-related.  (See Traffic Safety Facts, Table 3 on page 6)

The Insurance Institute explains this with research showing that increasing speed from 40 mph to 60 mph doubles the impact of a collision.  Limiting speed lessens impact and the chance of fatality, according to their position.

Speed or Speed Limits?

A video made to counter speed limits in Vancouver, Canada is popular online.  This dissent considers traffic flow, road conditions, driver frustration, and common sense.

While there is a link between speed and death, there does not appear to be a link between low speed limits and less death.  Countries with higher speed limits do not have a higher rate of traffic fatality than the U.S.  The Federal Highway Administration admits that road engineering and driver behavior must be considered in addition to speed.

The speed limit where Paul Walker died was 45 mph.  Likewise, Nevada’s traffic deaths occurred mainly on minor roads with low speed limits.  Only two occurred on highways.  (See Traffic Safety Facts, above.)

Never stop at “Speed Kills.”

Speed contributes to higher death rates but speed limits do not necessarily reduce them.

That is why a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas must consider all factors in traffic negligence including speed, proper lookout, and driver distraction.  It is fashionable to limit blame to speed and demand lower limits, but personal injury attorneys must think beyond speed to explain negligence effectively.

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