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Rise in speeding deaths prompts efforts at reform

In West Virginia and across the U.S., speeding has been causing more and more fatalities. This is according to a report from the National Transportation Safety Board, which found that speeding accounted for 31 percent of all roadway deaths in America from 2005 to 2014. Speeding-related accidents amounted to about 112,580 deaths. For comparison, the study noted that 112,948 people died during that same period in drunk driving accidents.

As a way to decrease fatalities, the NTSB recommends that lawmakers attach heavier penalties to speeding to match those of DUI. In many states, driving drunk leads to an automatic suspension of one's license. The NTSB states that speeding does not carry a social stigma like DUI or loom so much in the public's consciousness as, say, driving without a seatbelt; therefore, many are unaware of the real dangers of speeding.

Simply going 10 miles faster than the speed limit can drastically raise the chances of a fatality. For example, pedestrians hit by a car running 30 mph have a 60 percent chance of survival; the number drops to 40 when the car is running 40 mph.

The NTSB also recommends expanding the use of enforcement tools like speeding cameras, which are currently illegal in several states. Changing speed limits so that they match the speeds with the lowest accident involvement rate was also encouraged.

Speeding is a form of negligent driving. Those who have been hurt in a speeding accident, whether they were pedestrians, bicyclists, or other drivers, may be able to pursue a personal injury claim. A lawyer could assess the claim, hire investigators to find proof of the other party's guilt, and negotiate for a fair settlement with the insurance company.

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