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How Speed Affects Accidents: Crossing Guard Injured in Car Accident

iStock_17849680_LARGE-300x200.jpgOn Thursday, April 6, a crossing guard outside Ingram-Pye Elementary School was struck by a vehicle. The driver that struck the woman claimed that the sun was in his eyes when the accident occurred. Fortunately, she was not seriously injured, and no students were harmed in this low-speed accident.

Speed can dramatically affect the outcome of an accident. This is more apparent at higher speeds, of course, but even a five mile per hour change can mean the difference between bruises and broken bones, traumatic brain injury or even death. In low-speed accidents, the most common types of injuries include soft tissue injuries in the neck and back, such as ligaments, tendons and muscles.

The Statistics of Speed

The University of California at Berkeley conducted a study of vehicle speed and found that for every 1 percent increase in a vehicle's speed, the driver's chance of being in an accident increases by 2 percent. The chance of serious injury increases by 3 percent, and the chance of fatality increases by 4 percent.

The researchers also looked into speed differentials, that is, the speed of a vehicle compared to surrounding traffic. It found that driving 80 mph around cars that are driving 70 increases crash chances by 31 percent, injury chances by 49 percent, and fatality chances by 71 percent. This is alarming, considering that most drivers are perfectly okay going 5, 10 or even 20 mph above the speed limit, according to surveys.

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