There is little question that speeding has a direct correlation to increased numbers of auto accidents in the U.S. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA), 9,378 people were killed on the road because of speeding.
In addition, nearly 17 percent of all traffic crashes in 2017 and 26 percent of all traffic fatalities were caused by speeding, based on data supplied by the Insurance Information Institute.
These statistics are why there are speeding laws in place even though they differ from one state to another. Drivers in Michigan are faced with two types of speeding laws: “basic” and “absolute limits.”
Michigan’s basic speeding law requires motorists to drive at a “careful and prudent speed not greater than nor less than is reasonable and proper” – which essentially refers to driving at a safe speed. Of course, that depends on the circumstances, and will vary based on weather, time of the year, temperatures, type of road, and more.
What can be hard to remember is that driving too slow can also violate the basic speeding law. For instance, driving five miles per hour on the freeway when all other cars are going 70 miles per hour would be unreasonable and likely lead to a citation, especially if traffic is noticeably backing up because of a “slow” driver.
Understanding Speed Limits in Michigan
Michigan has specific absolute speed limits. Unless otherwise posted, they include:
- 25 miles per hour in business districts
- 25 miles per hour in residential districts
- 25 miles per hour within the boundaries of a public park
- 55 miles per hour on truck-line and county highways
- 55 miles per hour on gravel highways, and
- 70 miles per hour on limited-access freeways
Technically there is no gray area to these speed limits. Driving one mile per hour above the posted, absolute speed limit means that you have violated the law (a civil infraction) and can be issued a ticket that generally will cost up to at least $100 in fines and additional fees for court costs, if applicable.
Speeding in Michigan May Incur Reckless Driving Charges
It is possible that a speeding violation could turn into a “reckless driving” conviction, which is a misdemeanor. There are various ways that law enforcement officials can determine if reckless driving has occurred. If the at-fault driver causes the death of another person while speeding, felony vehicular manslaughter charges are a possibility.
Commercial vehicles can be particularly dangerous
Heavy trucks, which can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded, can be particularly dangerous on the road, whether the drivers of those trucks are speeding or other vehicles around them are. The huge mass of these vehicles can make them at least 20 times more than a passenger vehicle.
Evidence of speeding is common, even without cameras
Some drivers might think it can be difficult to prove from the evidence at a car accident scene that speeding has occurred. The truth is that there does not even need to be a witness for there to be proof that the guilty party in an accident was speeding. There is a significant amount of evidence that can be left behind on a crash scene to prove that speed was both a factor in causing the accident, and the extent to which the severity of that accident was increased.
Among the most common ways to prove what caused an accident are through witnesses, police reports and physical evidence. Some of this evidence includes:
- Skid marks on the road – the length and depth of skid marks can provide forensic experts with information on how long it took for a driver to stop, and how fast the vehicle likely was traveling at the time.
- Road debris – the amount of debris that is flecked off a car and how far it was flung in the accident can help to measure the speed at which the vehicle was traveling as well. The debris can provide additional information as well.
- Car damage following an accident – the faster a vehicle is moving, the harder it will impact other items. The amount of this damage can be measured. Every manufacturer has published collision ratings for every vehicle, which will help investigators determine the amount of damage. This can help lead to finding other evidence and putting together a final picture of fault, and whether speed was a factor.
Why is speeding so dangerous? It can lead to:
- Loss of vehicle control. When Michigan drivers speed, it makes it more difficult for them to maintain control behind the wheel, especially when there is another erratic driver or something unexpected occurs, such as debris from a vehicle or an animal on the road. Excess speed also makes it more difficult to steer safely around curves.
- Reduced effectiveness of safety equipment. Seat belts and airbags are far less likely to prevent injury or death when a vehicle is driven at higher speeds.
- Increased stopping distance. It takes more time to slow down when a driver is speeding and needing more room to stop can lead to dangerous situations, from sliding off the road and into other objects to clipping other vehicles.
- Expensive collisions. The faster a vehicle is driving, the more expensive the damage is likely to be following an accident. This includes not just property damage of the vehicle or surrounding objects, but any resulting medical bills, lost time on the job, extended hospital stays and/or physical therapy and other adverse social and mental health outcomes.
- High fuel consumption. Speeding leads to using more gasoline, which forces drivers to spend more at the gas pump, and possibly for vehicle maintenance in the long-term.
Lawrence Kajy and the team of lawyers at Kajy Law understand the ramifications of speeding in a Michigan Court case and they CARE about their clients. They not only have the legal knowledge to help you, but they are empathetic to your situation and are committed to getting you what you truly deserve. To speak to someone right away, please call 877-KAJY-CARES.