Despite fewer cars on Missouri’s roads because of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of fatal car crashes in the Show-Me State is up over the previous year.
In April the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that Missouri’s fatal motor vehicle crashes were up 4% over the year prior. According to statistics from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, that trend continued into May, with the number of people killed in Missouri car wrecks up 5% compared to the same time in May 2019.
That same Post-Dispatch story documented another trend related to COVID-19: With less traffic on the road, there appears to be more speeding drivers, or at least those dramatically exceeding the speed limits. The April 25 article (“Open roads During Pandemic Lead to Dangerous Speeds by Some Missouri Drivers”) document several instances where Missouri police caught drivers traveling well in excess of 100 mph. One was clocked going 145 mph.
Speeding Drivers Linked to Fatal Car Wrecks
There doesn’t yet appear to be a correlation between Missouri’s rise in fatal car crashes and the recent spike in speeding drivers, but there is previous evidence of the deadly dangers from this careless driving.
One year ago, in May 2019, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a report on speeding drivers (“Traffic Safety Facts – Speeding”). The report covered fatal car accidents related to speeding and other speeding-related statistics from 2017. (There is typically a two-year lag time in such reports.)
One statistic especially stood out. According to the report, 26% of all traffic deaths that year involved a speeding driver. Put another way, 9,717 people died in speeding-related crashes.
The majority of speeding drivers in fatal car accidents fell largely into two categories:
· Male drivers 21 to 24 years old
· Male drivers 15 to 20 years old
Drivers Speeding and Under the Influence of Alcohol
Most concerning in the report is that speeding drivers were found to more likely to be repeat offenders for not only exceeding the speed limit but for other dangerous behaviors as well.
Compared to 2017 non-speeding drivers, speeding drivers were:
· 26% more likely to have a previous speeding conviction
· 24% more likely to have had their license suspended or revoked in the past
· 21% more likely to have crashed before
· 6% more likely to previously have been convicted of drunk driving
The threshold for drunk driving in Missouri is a blood-alcohol content of .08 or more. That same year, according to the NHTSA, 26% of the nation’s speeding drivers in fatal crashes – more than one out of every four – had a BAC of .15 or more, or nearly twice the legal limit.
There are fewer drivers on Missouri’s roads right now, but that surely will change as the weeks go by and stay-at-home restrictions gradually are lifted. Hopefully, this will lead to a drop in excessive speeders as well, because the catastrophic risk speeding drivers pose to others is well documented.
If you were seriously hurt or you had a loved one die in a crash caused by a speeding driver, speak with a car accident attorney about your legal rights to just compensation.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog May 8, 2020