Some Police Departments Have Blamed Increased Speed on Waze
Several police departments and national police associations have recently blamed the popular Google App Waze for encouraging drivers to speed and making the roads more dangerous for all. First, Waze is a GPS Mapping/Social Media application that will allow those that are using the application to converse with other drivers, notifying them of traffic jams, weather, construction, accidents, red light cameras and police officers. Police departments and associations have recently begun a vocal campaign against Waze. Police have argued that by allowing its users to disclose the locations of officers that it jeopardizes officer safety because a stalker might use the information to locate and kill an officer. I am not going to discuss the validity of that concern because that is not the purpose of this blog.
Police have also stated that they object to the use of Waze because it negates the effects of speed traps. Speed traps are, according to police, a crucial tool that police used to slow down the speed on the interstates and make the interstates safer. After all, Waze does not give the ability to driver to speed through the speed trap. It merely warns drivers of the possible presence of police officers, along with a host of other hazards. This warning allows drivers to actually slow down in advance of the speed trap, rather than slamming on their brakes when the police officers are within the range of sight of the driver. If the goal of speed trap is to raise revenue by issuing tickets to speeding drivers then, yes, Waze does negatively impact that goal. However, in my personal opinion, as a Waze user, I believe that Waze has a positive impact of highway safety. While there may be disagreement on whether Waze encourages speeding, there is no disagreement that speed is a contributing factor in many car accidents.
Nearly 40% of All Accidents with Injuries – Speed was Likely a Contributing Factor
When I looked at the statistics, I was a little surprised that speeding was likely implicated as a cause in more than 1/3 of all fatal and injury car accidents. It is probably important to make a distinction as to the environment in which a driver is operating their vehicle a higher rate of speed to analyze the dangers present. For instance, higher speeds on the streets of St. Petersburg would be expected to cause more accidents because operating a car, truck or motorcycle at higher speeds in an urban setting increases the odds that the speeding vehicle will be tailgating or weaving in and out of lanes of traffic to maintain their speed. It also drastically reduces the amount of time the driver has to react to unexpected situations. For example, if the posted speed limit on a St. Petersburg street is 40MPH and a speeding driver is driving at 55MPH, the speeding driver will be unable to avoid many hazards in their path. Imagine that 50 yards ahead of the driver, in a crosswalk, a pedestrian or a bicyclist begins to cross the street. At 40MPH, the average car, driven by the average driver with average reflexes will be able to stop with about 10 yards to spare. The driver operating a vehicle travelling at a speed of 40MPH will, between identifying the hazard and bringing the car to a stop will travel about 40 yards. If the same driver is operating the same car at 55MPH, the vehicle will strike the pedestrian or bicyclist and actually drag them for almost 20 yards. Even if the time to identify and react to the hazard is removed from the equation, the speeding vehicle will be unable to stop before striking the pedestrian or bicyclist.
Do Higher Speed Limits Lead to More Accidents?
This answer is dependent upon the type of road. For instance raising the speed limit to 60MPH in an urban setting such as 1st Avenue North in St. Petersburg would most likely result in many more accidents, injuries and deaths. However, raising the speed limit on a stretch of sparsely populated I-75 between Tampa and Gainesville might have no effect on number of accidents. Studies have indicated that raising the speed limits on sparsely populated stretches of interstate has no effect on the number of accidents. The counterpoint to this argument is that other studies have shown is that the severity of the accidents will increase and the number of injuries and fatalities will tend to increase, as well. Therefore a better question might be, do higher speed limits lead to more fatalities and injuries?
Higher Speeds Lead to More Severe Injuries
While the number of accidents and injuries may or may not be increased with higher speed limits, the fact that higher speeds lead to more severe injuries cannot be debated. It is simply a matter of physics. The force exerted by 2,000 pound car moving at 55 MPH is significantly more than the same car travelling at 40 MPH. The likelihood of walking away from a high speed crash without suffering an injury is unlikely. Some common injuries to be expected in high speed car accident include:
2. Traumatic brain injury and/or concussions;
3. Spinal cord damage and/or paralysis;
6. Fractured or broken bones; and
7. Neck and back injuries
Contact Jones Law Group
Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident as a result of another driver’s excessive speed? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you.
Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.
Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707