For those that are pulled over for speeding, typically it only results in a particularly costly ticket. However, law enforcement can’t catch them all. The unfortunate truth is that it is as they say: speed kills. Not only does speed make the damages to the vehicles worse, but it drastically increases the risk of fatalities in a car accident.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that 18% of drivers involved in crashes in 2016 were caused by speeding. Furthermore, 27% of fatalities from car crashes were due to speed. These numbers are way down from the past 10 years after law enforcement put stricter penalties on speeding, but that definitely doesn’t mean it still isn’t happening.
The unfortunate thing about speed is that many believe once a vehicle has stopped, such as in the event of an accident, it can be difficult to prove speed. That means if speed indeed causes an accident, if it wasn’t caught on camera or vouched by witnesses, it can’t be proved, right? That is actually pretty far from the truth. In fact, you don’t even need to witness the guilty party in an accident speeding to prove that they were. Plenty of evidence is left behind on a crash scene to prove that speed was a factor in both causing the accident and the increased severity of it.
Proving Speeding in an Accident
When it comes to proving that speed was indeed a factor in an accident. There are three primary methods that you should investigate, some more obvious than others. However, all avenues should be pursued since speeding is a crime and typically makes the party responsible liable for your damages.
If there were witnesses to an accident, they can easy attest to speed. For the average citizen, if might be difficult to gauge if someone was going five or ten miles over the speed limit. However, if you were going through an intersection and another car blew through it going twenty over, most witnesses will know that kind of speeding when they see it.
Furthermore, witness testimony doesn’t need to only be those at the scene of the accident who can give their account of what happened. Witnesses can also be expert witnesses. These are authorities in a particular field that can look over the evidence of an accident and give their professional opinion on what happen. Often these can be long-time law enforcement officials, forensic experts as well as those skilled in traffic accident reconstruction.
While police don’t always come to the scene of every accident, it can be greatly helpful if you do make sure they come down and file a report. In many accident cases, the police report can make the difference when it comes to proving fault. Not only will the report provide their opinion on how the accident went down, but it will detail the accident scene as well. The officer will also collect witness information and contact information if needed. Most importantly, it will also detail if any citations were made at the scene of the accident. Knowing that the other driver received a ticket for speeding is enough to prove speed was a factor, thus enough to prove at least some liability.
If no one was around to witness speeding other than the wronged party, can speeding even exist? That’s what many find themselves asking. However, the truth is, speeding can often be proved by the scene of the accident alone. All it takes it the right professional looking over the accident photos or the scene itself to prove that one party was speeding. This is why it can be so crucial to well document an accident scene so it can be examined in detail later. What should you look out for to prove speed was a factor?
- Skid marks on the road – Skid marks can be very telling in any accident. The length and depth of skid marks tells a traffic forensic expert when the driver hit the brakes and how long it took them to stop. It can also be very suggestive of how fast a vehicle was going when they tried to make the stop. If a car was speeding, the skid marks will be longer than if they were trying to stop at speed since it will take them longer to make the stop that might have been safely possible at normal speeds.
- Road debris – It is not just the skid marks that can be telling, but so can the debris flung loose from an accident. In truth, the amount of debris that is flecked off a car and how far it was flung in the accident can be a measurement of speed. Traffic forensic experts can actually measure how far the debris was flung and calculate the speed at which the car was going when it made impact. This is why before you start picking up debris from a crash, you need to get pictures of it from many different angles as potential proof.
- Car damage from your accident – The reason why cars that are speeding are more dangerous and deadly in a crash is simple physics. The faster a vehicle is moving, the harder it will impact anything. Furthermore, the level of damage to a vehicle can actually be measured. Every manufacturer has collision ratings for every vehicle. These detail the amount of damage done by what speed that vehicle was hit. This means if you couldn’t get a picture of the skid marks or the road debris to use as proof, the damage to your vehicle alone can be very telling.
Have you been in a car accident in the St. Paul area and you believe speed was a factor? Speeding can make what could be a moderate accident into a very severe one. Furthermore, proof of speeding means liability is even easier to prove on the other driver. If you have been in a car accident and need help getting compensation for your injuries and damage to your vehicle, contact us today.