Fans and colleagues alike were left stunned recently by the fiery wreck that lead to the sudden death of 40-year-old Actor Paul Walker, who starred in the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise.
Officials have released a statement saying the driver of the red Porsche Carrera GT was traveling too fast when he lost control of the vehicle and slammed into a tree and then a pole, causing the vehicle to burst into flames. The crash occurred just a few hundred meters from a charity event the two were attending – at which the children of both men were also present.
Coincidentally, the “Fast and Furious” series features high-end sports vehicles, almost always operated at dangerously high speeds. The connection has not been lost on fans.
While many have expressed great shock at Walker’s passing, the fact that speed was a factor in a fatal car crash isn’t all that unusual. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that speed is a factor in one-third of all deadly crashes and it’s the third-leading contributing factor in traffic crashes.
Speed has proven a stubborn foe for safety officials. While other types of dangerous driving behaviors (drinking and driving, not wearing a seatbelt, etc.) have been successfully combated with a barrage of public awareness campaigns and harsher penalties for violators, speed continues to be a major problem.
People simply refuse to slow down. The success of Walker’s franchise may shed some insight into why. While behaviors such as drinking and driving or failure to buckle in a child are seen as simply irresponsible and inexcusable, speeding is still viewed as cool, a way to appear edgy and attractive. This is especially true for young males.
Other possible reasons include:
- Being in a hurry;
- Being inattentive to the speed;
- Failure to view the behavior as truly dangerous.
Numerous surveys have found that while many people view speeding as a threat to their own safety when other drivers do it, they also readily admit doing it themselves. The result is catastrophic. According to the NHTSA, speeding results in:
- 13,000 lives lost annually;
- Unsafe school and construction zones, where speed limit compliance is poor;
- $40 billion in annual costs.
In New York State, the Department of Motor Vehicles reports that in 2012, nearly 27,000 crashes involving nearly 41,000 vehicles were speed-related. Of those, 310 were fatal.
The National Safety Council has identified a number of strategies to help combat excessive speed on the roadway, including auto enforcement, high-visibility enforcement by police, better roadway engineering and more stringent company policies to help control speed for those who must drive for work. Officials have found moderate success with these strategies, but more needs to be done.
While Walker’s death has left many deeply bereft, our New York City car accident lawyers hope that grief can be channeled into a greater awareness of just how quickly speed can kill.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC offers free consultations. Call 1-877-313-7673.
Speed a Factor in Crash That Killed Action Star, Dec. 1, 2013, By Justin Pritchard and Jake Coyle, Associated Press
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Texting is One Bad Habit New Yorkers Need to Break, Oct. 29, 2013, New York City Car Accident Lawyer Blog