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Speeding can be fatal

Faster is always better, or at least that is what popular media would lead many to believe. From commercials to movies and TV shows, the message to drivers is clear -- speed up or remain behind. As a responsible driver, you understand that faster is not always better. Indeed, in most situations, speeding can be dangerous and even deadly.

Researchers are linking higher speed limits and speeding drivers to more and more car accidents. Many of these accidents are fatal, causing thousands of deaths in the last 25 years. Experts do not expect those figures to improve any time soon.

Do that many people really die because of speeding?

Speed limits have risen quite rapidly over the last quarter century, and those rising speed limits alone have caused approximately 37,000 additional deaths. This figure comes from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and is on top of all other speed-related fatalities. David Harkey -- the president of IIHS -- stated that speed-related crashes cause 10,000 deaths annually.

Many people in New Mexico do not realize that speeding is a serious traffic safety issue. It is not uncommon for safety campaigns to provide information on the dangers of drunk driving, distracted driving or not wearing a seatbelt. Safety campaigns simply do not give speeding the same attention.

The problem is growing

States set their own maximum speed limits. However, starting in the early and mid-1990s, states all across the country have been raising maximum speed limits. The majority of states boast maximum limits of 70 mph or even higher. Of those, six states allow maximum limits of 80 mph.

Legislators often believe that raising the speed limit will improve safety in areas where speeding is already common. In their minds, doing so will align the legal speed limit and the reality of people's driving habits. This notion is not accurate, though, as research has demonstrated that speeding drivers do not particularly care what the speed limit is. When limits are higher, those drivers simply speed past them.

Saving time is not worth the risk

Setting out on a 100-mile drive can feel daunting. This is perhaps why some drivers choose to drive faster than the posted speed limits, but few realize just how little time they are saving. If a driver travels at 70 mph in an area where the posted speed limit is 65 mph, he or she will only save a little over six minutes on travel time. Not only is the time saved mostly insignificant, but it also causes an 8% increase for the risk of causing a fatal accident.

It is easy to see that speeding is simply not worth the risk. However, many drivers continue to speed, despite understanding that doing so is dangerous. This can be extremely distressing for a family who has lost a loved one in a speed-related wreck. While nothing can undo the trauma of an unexpected death, a family can pursue compensation through the careful actions of a wrongful death suit. Proving a driver's negligence is key to these types of claims and can be complicated, but an experienced attorney may be well-prepared to help a victim's loved ones achieve just legal recourse.

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