Speed will remain an issue because it is such a difficult factor to control.
Car Wreck Lawyers of 1800 Car Wreck warn about the dangers of speeding as a major factor to fatal auto accidents
The Texas car wreck personal injury lawyers at 1-800-Car-Wreck are reporting on a recent auto accident in West Dallas that resulted in the death of three children.
The accident occurred at about 5:30 pm as Maricela Mendoza arrived at a stop sign near Peoria Avenue in West Dallas.
Mendoza was driving a 1998 Dodge, and four children were passengers in the vehicle.
At that same time, Xavier Mandell Taylor, 23, was traveling west on Singleton Avenue, moving at what police describe as an unsafe speed.
Mendoza had a clear intersection when she began make a left turn onto Singleton Avenue.
Unfortunately, Taylor’s vehicle smashed into the left side of Mendoza’s Dodge with enough impact to push her car into the opposite lane of traffic.
The auto accident killed three of the four children in the vehicle who were identified as 11-year-old Pamela Mendoza, 7-year-old Bryan Mendoza and 3-year-old Elizabeth Mendoza.
The fourth child, a 13-year-old girl – whose name was not disclosed – was taken to a local hospital in critical condition.
Mendoza suffered minor injuries in the crash, but Taylor suffered a broken ankle.
Taylor was booked on three counts of vehicular manslaughter and was held on $300,000 bail. It is not known whether his actions were impaired by alcohol, but police confirmed that speed was the major contributing factor of the car wreck.
Anger About Lack of Traffic Signals and Speeding
Speeding accidents are quite common through the U.S., but according to a West Dallas native who lives in the neighborhood where the fatal auto accident occurred, the crash was preventable.
Henry Martinez said that the intersection of Singleton and Peoria has always been dangerous, and that residents have been calling for the local government to install traffic signals to prevent a major accident.
“Speed all the time,” stated Martinez, “60, 70 miles per hour. Racing.”
Martinez said that the problem is so bad that many residents are fearful of crossing the intersection because of the danger.
“It’s time to do something about it,” he added. “It really is.”
Martinez is more than just a concerned citizen, he is also the President of the Ledbetter Neighborhood Association, and said that the lack of traffic signals is a problem that plagues many neighborhoods.
“If you pull right there,” he continued, “you got a car coming 60 miles per hour, there’s no way that car’s going to stop.”
Other residents echoes Martinez’s assessment, saying that they’ve had close calls trying to cross the street.
And the biggest issue isn’t just the absence of traffic lights, residents said; it is also the fact that many vehicles speed through the intersection.
Dallas Police have routinely set up speed traps at the intersection as part of their efforts to curb speeding in the area.
But in every instance, authorities announce the speed traps on social media beforehand, which makes it easy for potential violators to drive at the speed limit during those enforcement periods.
“There should be a red light right here,” stated Martinez. “A blinking red light, something to make traffic stop. We’re risking our lives and you see what happened a few days ago. It shouldn’t have happened. It just hurts. It hurts.”
The West Dallas auto accident highlights the danger of speeding as it relates to fatalities.
In 2015, 62 people were killed in car accidents in Texas that were caused by speeding, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).
Fifty-seven passengers in Texas died in vehicles that were speeding in 2015, and 13 pedestrians were killed in these types of crashes.
“What you’ll notice in many reports regarding auto accidents is that speeding will be among the most common contributing or major factors,” stated Amy Witherite, founding partner of the personal injury law firm of Eberstein & Witherite, LLP, which has offices throughout Texas and in Atlanta, Georgia. “There are different categories of speeding, including speeding as a result of road rage, but speeding is such a critical factor in auto accidents because it changes how well a driver can control a vehicle, and cuts reaction time to almost nothing.”
In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified speed as a trigger for other major factors that cause auto accidents.
For example, a speeding driver will often fail to drive in a single lane, which can cause a car wreck.
A speeding driver can also fail to heed a warning sign, or fail to yield right of way, which are other major causes of auto accidents.
The NHTSA conducted a recent national survey on speeding attitudes and behavior, and found that 50 percent of all drivers who took the survey believed that speeding was a major issue.
But ironically, a quarter of respondents also said that they tried to get to their destination as fast as possible, which likely means that some of those drivers were guilty of speeding to accomplish that objective.
Seventy-five percent of drivers in the survey believed that obeying the speed limit was vital to lowering the number of car accidents and 91 percent agreed with the prompt “Everyone should obey the speed limits because it’s the law.”
“Well, those surveys are useful in explaining widespread attitudes, but the problem is that a lot of drivers answer those questions as an ideal and don’t practice that ideal,” stated Witherite. “So you’ll have surveys that show Americans want to lower the incidents of accidents caused by speeding, but that same survey will show that a majority of drivers speed in the normal course of everyday driving. The challenge is to take the ideal of safe driving behavior, and turn that ideal into a reality on the roads.”
Speed is a bigger issue with male drivers than with female drivers, and young drivers tend to speed at a much higher rate than older, experienced drivers.
More troubling, 16 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement, “Driving over the speed limit is not dangerous for skilled drivers.”
Texas Speed Laws Highest In Nation
The other issue with speed-related crashes is that some states have established higher speed limits that may encourage drivers to drive above a safe speed.
In Texas, the speed limit maximum is 70 miles per hour, one of the highest in the nation. But that limit can go as high as 85 mph if the Texas Transportation Commission deems that this is a safe and reasonable speed for a highway after conducting an engineering study.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the average top speed on all Texas highways is a staggering 78 mph, which is tops in the nation, just ahead of Idaho, which averages 76.7 mph.
Auto safety experts believe that high speed limits encourage drivers to exceed those limits, which means that an 80 mph limit on a highway could encourage drivers to hit 90 mph or more.
“The research is clear that when speed limits go up, fatalities go up,” stated Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Speed will remain an issue because it is such a difficult factor to control. Without the use of speed limiters in vehicles, drivers are free to exercise their own discretion when operating their vehicles, and impairments such as drugs and alcohol can make speeding even more dangerous.
According to an AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety phone survey in 2015, 50 percent of respondents admitted that they had exceeded speed limits on freeways by as much as 15 mph.
If extrapolated to a typical Texas driver, it means that some vehicles may be traveling at 90 mph or more on the state’s freeways.
What Can a Car Accident Lawyer Do For You?
In the immediate aftermath of a car wreck, your first thoughts are often filled with confusion, panic and fear, which is normal. But that also means that you will not likely be thinking logically, and that can affect any legal claim you make in the future.
A personal injury lawyer is qualified to take the burden of clear thought and decisive action off your shoulders. The last thing you need to worry about is how you can gather evidence and ensure that the accident investigation proceeds in a swift manner, but that’s the first thing on the mind of a good personal injury attorney.
If you live in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Laredo, El Paso or Texarkana, and have sustained a serious injury in an auto accident, call 1-800-Car-Wreck and speak to a lawyer at Eberstein & Witherite.
We have spent decades helping victims of car accidents obtain justice and fair compensation, and we are prepared to handle every aspect of your claim. We understand that your main concern should be healing from your injuries and restoring your quality of life. Our goal is to give you peace of mind through a difficult time. Call today, or fill out this short form and we will contact you.
Eberstein & Witherite, LLP
Email: [email protected]