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Speed linked to 26 percent of road deaths

A report released recently by the Governors Highway Safety Association links almost one in three road deaths in Pennsylvania and around the country with excessive speed. The nonprofit group's "Speeding Away From Zero" study says that one of the biggest challenges facing lawmakers tackling the problem is that exceeding posted speed limits is seen as culturally acceptable by a large part of the motoring public.

This cultural acceptance has led municipalities in many parts of the country to increase speed limits or allow city or county authorities to adjust them based on local needs. According to the GHSA report, the 9,717 road uses killed in speed-related accidents in 2017 accounted for 26 percent of all traffic fatalities. Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians make up a disproportionately high number of excessive speed deaths.

Suggestions for addressing the issue include more aggressive police enforcement of speed limits and stiffer penalties for offenders, the widespread deployment of automatic speed cameras and replacing traditional intersections with roundabouts. The GHSA will also be hosting a speeding forum in April with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. IIHS studies reveal that impact energy increases by 125 percent when cars strike an object at 60 mph instead of 40 mph.

Negligent motorists are rarely eager to admit that they were speeding when they crashed, which can make the job of accident investigators more challenging. When excessive speed may have played a role but police car accident investigations are inconclusive, experienced personal injury attorneys may seek to have the vehicles involved inspected. This is because most modern automobiles are equipped with sophisticated electronic systems that monitor drivers and keep track of vehicle speeds. These systems may also provide evidence of driver distraction if they reveal that no evasive action was taken prior to an accident.

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