Traffic accident fatalities in Pennsylvania and around the country increased have increased sharply despite significant advances in automobile safety and the introduction of autonomous crash avoidance systems. Experts have blamed the surge in road deaths on higher traffic levels and an epidemic of cellphone use by drivers and pedestrians, but a July 2017 report from the National Transportation Safety Board suggests that speeding may be the true culprit.
After studying fatal car accident data compiled between 2005 and 2014, NTSB researchers found that excessive speed was a factor in 31 percent of crashes and more than 100,000 deaths. While the study did not take the last two years of data into account, a NTSB representative said that speeding was likely a leading cause of the alarming rise in the number of road fatalities observed in 2015 and 2016.
The death toll associated with speeding is similar to the number of road users killed each year in drunk driving accidents, and the NTSB has urged lawmakers to treat motorists who ignore posted speed limits as harshly as they do drivers who get behind the wheel after drinking or taking drugs. The agency has called for speed cameras to be legalized in all states and speed limits to be set according to safety concerns rather than the 85 percentile rule, which is based on prevailing traffic conditions.
Motorists rarely admit that they were speeding after being involved in an accident, but experienced personal injury attorneys may use the data stored by the electronic systems in their cars to establish how fast they were traveling when they crashed. Motorists are expected to behave responsibly at all times and owe other road users a duty of care, and they could face serious financial repercussions when their recklessness harms occupants of other vehicles.