Last Updated on April 1, 2024

How Speeding Increases the Risk of Car Accidents in New York City

Speeding is a dangerous offense that puts everyone on the road at risk. In 2021 alone, speeding contributed to 12,330 fatalities nationwide – contributing to about 29% of all traffic-related deaths within that year. On average, one New Yorker is killed/seriously injured in a traffic crash every 2 hours – speeding is the leading cause of fatal crashes.

In New York City, excessive speeding remains one of the leading factors in severe car accidents. Did you know that a pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 30 MPH is twice as likely to be killed as a pedestrian hit by a car traveling at 25 MPH**? This illustrates how small changes in speed can lead to adverse consequences.

** as reported in an official New York City report

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Percentage of Car Accidents Caused by Speeding

Using available 2023 data from the New York City Police Department, we were able to determine the percentage of car accidents caused by speeding. This data takes 11 months from 2023 into consideration, with only the month of June being excluded.

According to available data, around 4.5% of all reported NYC car accidents in 2023 were caused by speeding. While this figure looks small, speeding actually caused 3,867 incidents of car crashes in that year alone

The Zero Vision Initiative was launched in 2014 in an effort to mitigate serious injuries and deaths resulting from speeding. Since its adoption, it has been reported that speeding dropped by an average of 30% in areas with speed cameras during the first year of 24/7 enforcement. Despite this improvement, speeding remains a significant issue within NYC, especially when compared to national averages.

NYC Drivers and Their Reasons for Speeding

According to the National Highway and Traffic Safety, offenders cite the following as their reasons for speeding:

  1. Traffic Congestion: One of the most commonly cited reasons for aggressive driving, including speeding, is traffic congestion. Frustrated by delays, drivers may resort to speeding or frequently changing lanes.
  2. Running Late: The pressures of daily life and over-scheduled days can lead some drivers to speed in an attempt to make up for lost time.
  3. Anonymity: Being inside a vehicle can create a sense of detachment from the outside world. This detachment can sometimes lead drivers to feel less accountable for their actions on the road.
  4. Disregard for Others and the Law: While most drivers stay away from aggressive driving, a small proportion habitually practices it. Their actions might root from the utter disregard for the law or for safety.

Dangers and Demerits 

Speed limits are established to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Here's why speeding is so dangerous:

  • Reduced driver reaction time: Speeding reduces the time a driver has to react to unexpected situations, increasing the risk of accidents.
  • Increased stopping distance: The faster a vehicle is moving, the longer it takes to come to a complete stop. This can be especially challenging in emergency situations where quick reactions are necessary.
  • Reduced effectiveness of safety mechanisms: Vehicles are designed with certain safety features that work best within specific speed ranges. Exceeding these speeds can render these safety mechanisms less effective.
  • Increased severity of accidents: High-speed collisions often result in more severe injuries and damages than those occurring at lower speeds.
  • Economic implications: Speed-related crashes can lead to higher medical bills, repair costs, and even increased fuel consumption.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has implemented a Driver Violation Point System to penalize high-risk drivers. This system assigns points for specific traffic violations, and if a driver accumulates too many points, they face severe consequences.

In the context of speeding, this point system looks like this:

Speeding 1 to 10 MPH over the posted limit+ 3 Points
Speeding 11 to 20 MPH over the limit+ 4 Points
Speeding 21 to 30 MPH over the limit+ 6 Points
Speeding 31 to 40 MPH over the limit+ 8 Points
Speeding over 40 MPH+ 11 Points

If a driver accumulates 11 points within an 18-month period, their license may be suspended. Apart from the point system, drivers may also face fines, increased insurance premiums, and even mandatory seminars/courses. Those who accumulate 6 or more points within 18 months are also required to pay a Driver Responsibility Assessment Fee.

Legal Implications of Speeding

Who Is Accountable for Crash Damages? 

The state of New York has a No-Fault System in place. In cases where 2 cars were involved, each driver’s insurance provider shoulders the compensation – unless serious injuries were made. However, in cases where pedestrians/cyclists are involved, speeding drivers are held liable. 

Through New York Insurance Law § 5102(d), further legal liabilities are awarded to drivers that have caused serious injuries. The serious injury threshold covers:

  • Death
  • Dismemberment
  • Significant Disfigurement
  • Fracture
  • Loss a Fetus
  • Permanent loss of use of a body organ, member, function or system
  • Permanent consequential limitation of a body organ or member
  • Significant limitation of use of a body function or system
  • Other temporary injuries lasting for at least 90 days (can occur anytime within the first 3 months after the accident)

While speeding drivers are often held liable, certain contexts can potentially exempt them from legal liabilities. These contexts typically include unideal road conditions.

New York also follows a comparative negligence rule, meaning that if you're partially at fault for an accident, your compensation may be reduced by the percentage of your fault. For instance, if you're found to be 20% at fault, you might only receive 80% of the total damages awarded.

Legal Consequences and Potential Criminal Charges

The state of New York requires drivers to have liability coverages. This ensures that liable individuals receive support from their insurance providers when providing medical compensations. This requirement also ensures that injured individuals receive immediate medical aid.

Further criminal charges can be awarded to drivers with extreme negligence resulting in death/serious injuries. Such negligence include:

  • Driving while intoxicated (DWI) or under the influence of drugs
  • Reckless driving (i.e., excessive speeding or street racing)
  • Leaving the scene of an accident (Hit-and-Run)
  • Vehicular manslaughter/homicide

In 2022, a total of 1,476 motor vehicle claims were made in New York City (as reported by the NYC Comptroller). A total of $139.0 million was paid for personal injury settlements for all these cases. This means that the average personal injury settlement for NYC was $94,173 in 2022.

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Speak to a Personal Injury Lawyer

At the Porter Law Group, we do our best to help families in need. Our specialized lawyers take pride in helping individuals receive rightful medical compensation. We operate on a contingency basis – meaning you don’t have to pay anything unless we win.

If you or a loved one was injured by a speeding driver in a car accident, please reach out to us for a no-obligation, free consultation. You can also contact us at 833-PORTER9 or to schedule an appointment.

Written By
Michael S. Porter
Personal Injury Attorney
Originally from Upstate New York, Mike built a distinguished legal career after graduating from Harvard University and earning his juris doctor degree from Syracuse University College of Law. He served as a Captain in the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, gaining expertise in trial work, and is now a respected trial attorney known for securing multiple million-dollar results for his clients while actively participating in legal organizations across Upstate NY.
Legally Reviewed on March 28, 2024
Eric C. Nordby
Personal Injury Attorney
Eric, with nearly three decades of experience in personal injury litigation, holds a law degree with honors from the University at Buffalo School of Law and a Bachelor's Degree from Cornell University. His extensive career encompasses diverse state and federal cases, resulting in substantial client recoveries, and he actively engages in legal associations while frequently lecturing on legal topics.
This Article Was Professionally Reviewed
This page was Legally Reviewed by Eric C. Nordby on March 28, 2024. Our experts verify everything you read to make sure it's up to date. For information on our content creation and review process read our editorial guidelines. If you notice an error or have any questions about our content please contact us.
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