John L. Wilbers: 2017 Missouri – Kansas Super Lawyer

Motor vehicle collisions are a fact of life for people in Missouri. Every day, crashes occur because someone doesn’t use their turn signal or they get distracted while driving. Collisions are the result of all kinds of different unsafe behaviors, some of which are more common than others.

Drunk driving, for example, is something most people recognize as unsafe. However, many motorists don’t judge driving at high speeds that are over the posted limit for a specific area in the same way. Yet, speeding is one of the most common traffic violations, as many people habitually exceed the posted limit or travel faster than they should given weather and road conditions. People often think of speeding as harmless and enforcement efforts as a way for police departments to collect money. But, there is actually a direct relationship between vehicle speed and the severity of collisions that occur on the roads every day.

Speed plays a factor in the worst collisions

According to an estimate based on state crash data, roughly 40% of the deadly collisions that occur in Missouri are the result of someone driving at an unreasonable or unsafe speed. Excessive speed leaves people unable to stop as quickly as they need to or to maneuver safely on the road. Speed can also affect the severity of the collision that occurs.

Especially when the crash involves a vehicle and a bicycle or pedestrian, higher speeds have a direct relationship with the likelihood of the other party suffering severe or fatal injuries. When police officers respond to major collisions, one of the many factors they will explore is whether either driver involved violated traffic statutes. Excessive speed would not just lead to a citation but possibly also personal responsibility for the wreck.

Speaking up can make all the difference

Those involved in a crash often want to be respectful both toward the officer taking the crash report and the other person involved, even if that driver caused the crash. People should not hesitate to notify a police officer that they believe the other driver violated the speed limit and engaged in unsafe driving practices. That information can influence how the officer investigates and the final determination that they reach. If they agree with the assertion that someone caused the crash through excess speed, they may declare that individual at fault and issue a ticket. Those affected by the collision will then have the option of pursuing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit if the circumstances meet the standards set in Missouri state statutes.

Identifying the underlying factors that may have caused a crash can help people demand personal and financial justice after a wreck.