In Maryland, we can celebrate the fact that crashes involving speeding declined by 40 percent from 2011 to 2015. But the good news ends there. In our state, there are still more than 13,000 crashes related to speeding occurring on our roads each year.
During the five-year period mentioned, excessive speed was a factor in approximately one in seven (14 percent) crashes overall. About one in six (16 percent) of all injury collisions involved speeding, and more than one-fifth (21 percent) of all speeding-related collisions resulted in fatalities.
The National Picture
Across our country, excessive speed remains a troubling issue. In 2016, 10,111 people died in speeding-related crashes, approximately 27 percent of all traffic deaths that year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. We all know the reasons we shouldn’t speed. We might even know the reasons we are likely to speed, such as running behind schedule, disregard for the law and others’ wellbeing, and thinking we won’t be the ones to get caught.
But you might not realize the close link between speeding and aggressive driving. Excessive speed is the single largest component of aggressive behavior behind the wheel. Aggression and speeding are so closely linked that research shows people who have been watching one of the “Fast and Furious” movies are more likely to speed afterwards.
The “Fast and Furious” (F & F) Numbers
Traffic violations data taken from the 2012 to 2017 Montgomery County, MD, records confirmed that the average speed by which ticketed drivers exceeded the speed limit was 19 miles per hour on the weekends following the release of one of the “F & F” movies. On the weekends before an “F & F” movie was released, the average speed by which ticketed drivers exceeded the speed limit was 16 miles per hour.
Incidences of extreme speeding increased after the release of one of the movies as well. The percentage of drivers charged with exceeding the speed limit by more than 40 miles per hour nearly doubled. The extreme speeding violations remained a small percentage of total speeding charges, at 2 percent, but the near-doubling is seen as statistically significant.
The majority of the extreme speeding tickets given out in the three weekends following the “F & F” movie releases happened on Route 270, which runs near several large movie theaters in Montgomery County. During the weekends before movie releases, extreme speeding was not only less common, it occurred farther away from Route 270 and the movie theaters.
Traffic violations data following the release of other movies from the same years, such as “The Hunger Games” series (which did not glorify racing and fast driving), did not show any increases in speeding.
More Dubious Distinctions for Montgomery County
During the fiscal years of 2015, 2016, and 2017, 1.5 million speeders were spotted and ticketed each year courtesy of operational speed cameras, according to AAA. More than one-third of those who engaged in excessive speed were caught in—you guessed it—Montgomery County. The combined data for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties showed that over 75 percent of all the speeders identified by the cameras were caught in these two Maryland counties.
The numbers of speed limit scofflaws and the total dollar amount of fines—roughly $47.5 million per year—in the two counties is mind-boggling. In a press release, John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs, commented, “It is so shocking that so many drivers have a wanton disregard for safety.”
Speed cameras are installed only in limited locations in Maryland, namely in residential areas and school zones, so the behaviors they record don’t reflect the true number of speeders, which is worrisome. Additionally, tickets are issued only to drivers who exceed the speed limit by 12 or more miles per hour, with the maximum fine set at $40. The actual number of speeders in these two counties, and in all of Maryland, is likely significantly higher when you consider the restrictions under which the speed cameras operate.
We’re listening. How can we help you?
The aftermath of a motor vehicle crash can be life-changing for the accident victims and their family members, and often takes years of patience and dedication to overcome. If you believe another party was responsible for the injuries or losses you have suffered in a car accident in Maryland, Steven Heisler has the experience necessary to help you get your life back on track successfully.
At the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler, we have devoted our practice to defending the rights of personal injury victims. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a vehicular accident, you may be entitled to various kinds of financial compensation, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Keep in mind, however, that there is a statute of limitations – or a time limit – for filing personal injury claims, so you should not delay. Contact Steve today for a free initial consultation by calling 1-410-625-4878, or use our online form.