Speeding can cause instantaneous death and outright family kaput.  The result of speeding is so enormous that turns precious moments and valuable things into nothing.

The invention of vehicles has brought things and situations better. But, does it really answers the original purpose or does it makes things and situations worst?

This paper attempts to educate people especially drivers who are always involved with vehicular activities. The discussion will focus on the reasons why some drivers often commit over speeding and aggressive driving, the effects of negative impact of speeding towards the affected families, and how to control this unauthorized act that cause horrible adversities. The discussions include the reasons for over speeding and aggressive driving, hit and run, effects on the family, controlling the over speeding, etc.

Speeding

The Encarta Microsoft Encyclopedia (2006) defined Speeding as “driving vehicle above speed limit. It is an offense of driving a vehicle at a speed above the designated speed limit”.

Angela Smith, a NIO Minister reveals in the BBC News (2003) that over the last 10 years, 358 people were killed and 3,471 were seriously injured because of speeding. Speeding kills or seriously injures one person every single day on Northern Ireland’s roads in which young men (age 17-24 years old) are held responsible for a staggering eight out of ten fatal crashes.

Reasons for Over Speeding and Aggressive Driving

Vehicular crashes are complex events that are a culmination of various driver, vehicle or environment-related factors.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driver-related factors that contribute to motor vehicle traffic crashes are mostly behavioral in nature which include impaired driving, aggressive driving including speeding and distracted driving, etc.

NHTSA research has shown that crashes cost in $40.4 billion in 2000, which at least one driver was exceeding the legal speed limit or driving too fast. This represents about 20 percent of the total economic cost of motor vehicle traffic crashes in the United States.  Accordingly, about 32 percent (annually) of all fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes were speeding-related, i.e., at least one of the drivers involved in the crash exceeded the posted speed limit or was driving too fast for the prevailing conditions.

Based on the Telephone survey made by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (1997) as posted in NHTSA website, the  reasons drivers most often gave for exceeding speeds that they consider to be unsafe were that they were late or behind schedule (44 percent). The next sets of reasons were: trying to keep up with traffic (12 percent), closely followed by good conditions (11 percent), or having an emergency (11 percent). Reasons for increased aggressively include: drivers being rushed or behind schedule (23 percent), increased traffic or congestion (22 percent), careless, inconsiderate drivers (12 percent), and immature, young drivers (12 percent).

Hit and Run

The Legal line (2007) defines hit and run as “a road accident where one of the parties involved fails to stop or leaves the scene without providing any detail”.

Most of the victims die without justice. However there are also victims that survive in hit and run. Those survivors are still now looking for justice and in the state of phobia and disability status.

The AAA Report stated that 1,557 killed by hit and run drivers in 2003 (.1778 per hour). This is 3.65% of the 42,643 total that NHTSA reported in were killed in US in 2003(Traffic Safety Facts). NHTSA report also states 2.889 million injured in crashes in 2003. Using 3.65% multiplier gives a total of 12.04 injured per hour”.

According to Brad Heath of USA Today (2006), the number of pedestrians killed by hit-and-run drivers has jumped 20% since 2000 and is at its highest level in a decade, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The increasing occurrence of this incidence compounds the problems of investigating hit-and-run cases, in which according to the investigators, are among the most difficult crimes to solve because they often happen at night with no witnesses.

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Of the 4,881 pedestrians killed last year, 974 died in hit-and-runs, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show. The total number of pedestrians killed nationwide increased by about 2% since 2000, but hit-and-run deaths increased at almost 10 times that pace, the USA TODAY analysis found.

Lt. Doug Dodson, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol said that in many investigations in which drivers are later found, drivers tell to the police that they fled out of fear or because they had been drinking and wanted to avoid legal trouble.

Based on the statistic featured in the Missouri Sate Highway Patrol, which injuries appear to, be the most numbered but sad to say that there are also died as a result of over speeding.  It has also been revealed that accidents often happen at the age of over speeding driver between 55 years old and above, maybe because this age has more experience in driving and they are confident to drive fast. Nevertheless, the survivor injured victims are facing psychological and financial problem. There are surviving victims that lost their career because of disability they get from hit and run accident. This causes the victims’ family to suffer.

Effects on the Family

One aspect of the consequences of motor vehicle crashes is economic cost. The pain and anguish suffered by an injured person as well as the burden placed on families caring for a disabled member go beyond any economic remuneration. Particularly, devastating are the effects on family members when a crash leads to death. The sudden and unexpected sense of loss can affect a family member’s emotional state for years after the crash fatality occurred.

A concrete example of the case of Hit and Run (as reported in Tuscaloosa News, 2005) is the situation of 23-year old Jaime Walker who was struck by a hit and run driver while riding his motorcycle in 2002. Since that date Jaime has been suffering from brain damage and has been in a vegetative state. Jaime receives nourishment through a feeding tube, doesn’t respond to commands and is blind. As of March 2005, he resides at his mother’s home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. His mother resigned from her job to take care of him full time.

Controlling the Over speeding

Many state or county have adopted different measures to control and lessen accident that killed thousand of people and injured millions of innocent. One of these measures is giving penalty to over speeding drivers.

To be more effective in chasing offenders some City installed Red lights cameras to measure if the drivers are over speeding particularly in the cross section. This was manifested by the Albuquerque City plans to add red light cameras to 13 more intersections in an effort to cut down on accidents as reported in the Associated Press, 2005. Accordingly, three people died in an accident that happened in an intersection when the drunk driver ran a red light. The City Mayor of Albuquerque, Mayor Martin Chavez said in Associated Press, that they are going to install red light cameras in places where accidents are observed between 2001 and 2003. Since the installation in 2004 from May to October, police officers have caught more than 9,000 violators and about 5,700 people have been issued with civil citations. Penalty is imposed wherein the first offense is $100, second $250, and $300 for the third time and the subsequent offenses.

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Stiff penalty to be imposed to motorists who violated over speeding is indispensable to control and minimize accidents caused by speeding vehicles.  Many states have already adopted strict and high penalties but unfortunately, in some instances, this does not solve the increasing occurrence of car accidents involving over speeding.

The adoption of technologies and strict enforcement of traffic rules are the main reasons why car accidents often occurred though drivers and victims didn’t like it to happen.  It is however, the responsibility of every person to be cautious in driving but what really matters are the enforcement of laws and the strict adherence of these laws among the drivers.

On the other hand, residents can be enlisted to help reduce speeding in their neighborhoods. The National Crime Prevention Council is encouraging the involvement of community residents so that speeding in residential areas could be easier to control or eradicate. It is true that residents do not want people speeding through their neighborhood, but there are simply not enough police officers to patrol every street.  By involving resiedents in speed control, police departments have a better idea of where to station officers.  It likewise acts as adult “peer pressure”.  Drivers or motorists will not speed if they know their neighbors are watching.

Conclusion

The skill of vehicular driving has provided so many advantages to many individuals. It makes things possible and easy. In fact, in modern days, high-speed vehicles are made to cope with the urgency of traveling and getting off fast within precious times. However, this is being abused by many driver especially young men who are often encountering accidents because of speeding (over speeding). Until these days, this incident continues and even increasing.

This is attributed by the following reasons which should be mitigated, to wit:

1.      Unauthorized driving or driving without license;

2.      Careless or reckless driving.

3.      Driving for an urgent appoint or emergency situation;

4.      Driving for fun like highway racing; and

5.      Impaired or distracted driving.

It has been proven that the effects of vehicular accidents caused by speeding are enormous; perish lives, damage properties, psychological stress, and defeats bright future (personal career, job opportunities, strong and happy family relationships, etc.).

It is therefore imperative that more appropriate measures should be taken seriously which should include the following:

1.      Formulation of realistic policies and traffic rules;

2.      Effective and efficient enforcement of policies and traffic rules;

3.      Adoption and sustainable use of traffic devices and systems;

4.      Police Officers’ skills enhancement;

5.      Police visibility in accident prone areas;

6.      Extensive information and education for all drivers and the public; and

7.      Constant vehicular safety check.

The consideration and implementation of the above mentioned measures is the best way of minimizing or eliminating vehicular accidents attributed by man. These should not be influence by personal interests of the policy makers and law enforcements, and of course it should not be abused by the concern drivers who are the main recipients.

The call for public awareness on safety and health should be strengthened.  This will enhance the public’s knowledge on traffic rules and driving precautions, and the health or condition of the drivers who should avoid driving if they are not on the normal state of mind (drunk while driving) or doing something while driving like having a call using mobile phones, talking with passengers,  reading newspaper or magazines, etc.

This is everybody’s concern, drivers or non-drivers. Always remember, safety first before anything else.