When people rate the seriousness of different criminal offenses, whether or not there is a victim directly harmed by the crime often plays a role in the rankings they produce. For example, quite a few people will feel more strongly about armed robbery, which traumatizes the victim and potentially puts their life in danger when compared with shoplifting, an offense that still involves theft but does not involve a specific victim.

Many people mistakenly think of speeding as a victimless crime, leading them to feel significant resentment for law enforcement who focuses heavily on catching and ticketing those who exceed posted speed limits. However, while speeding may seem like a crime in theory only, it increases the risk for everyone on the road.

The victims of speeding include those who get hurt or die in crashes caused by speeders and those who lose a loved one or have a loved one severely injured in a crash involving excessive speed.

Speeding is a leading cause of traffic fatalities

Although people tend to focus far more on drunk driving or distracted driving when talking about what is dangerous on the road, speeding claims thousands of lives every year, often without people really recognizing it as the dangerous activity it truly is.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding cost the lives of 9,378 people in 2018. That means it plays a role in about a quarter of all fatal crashes.

Why is speeding so dangerous?

Speeding contributes to the risk of a motor vehicle crash in a number of ways. Obviously, the faster you drive in a vehicle, the harder it becomes to quickly maneuver or stop when issues arise. Beyond that, higher speeds make it harder for you to identify risk factors on the road. If you’re traveling too fast to see the area around you clearly, you may not notice the lady about to step into the crosswalk until she does so.

Finally, speeding is dangerous because many people do it habitually. They simply choose at any given time to exceed the posted speed limit by 5 or often 9 miles an hour, believing that as long as they are doing less than 10 miles over the posted speed limit, they won’t face significant consequences.

Those who get hurt or lose a loved one in a crash caused by speeding may have rights under the law to hold the driver who violated the law responsible.