How Speed is a Contributing Factor in Many Fatal Crashes in Portland

Posted on behalf of RizkLaw on Mar 12, 2021 in Auto Accident

young teen pulled over by policeSpeed is a leading factor in car crashes across the country, significantly impacting the severity of injuries sustained. In Portland, thirty percent of all fatal collisions were speed-related – even those that involved only one vehicle.

Yet many people continue to speed, disregarding safety for themselves and others – even throughout the pandemic when there were fewer cars on the road.

Today’s blog discusses speeding in Oregon, including what state laws say about the limits and what recent crash tests revealed about the impact of speed on collision outcomes.

If another driver involved you in a speed-related accident and this violation caused you serious harm, Rizk Law is prepared to help.

Call our law offices today to schedule a free case review, with no obligation to take legal action.

Speeding Involves More Than Exceeding the Legal Limit

Many drivers may think of speeding as simply exceeding the posted limits on whatever route they are traveling. However, in Oregon, that is not where the laws about speeding end.

Oregon has multiple speeding laws that drivers are required to know about and follow, including these two primary laws:

Oregon’s Basic Speed Rule

Oregon states that any driver operating a vehicle while traveling at a greater speed than is reasonable or prudent is violating the basic speed rule, taking into consideration the following factors:

  • Traffic
  • Both the surface and width of the highway
  • Possible hazards at intersections
  • Impact of the weather
  • Current visibility
  • Any other conditions that may exist at that point in time

This law applies on any road, from alleys to highways. Violation of the basic speed rule is a Class B traffic violation.

Here is just one example of how this law may apply:

You are traveling on a highway where the posted speed limit is 65 miles per hour, but the road is covered in snow. To prevent harm to yourself and others, you must reduce your speed accordingly. Failure to do so is breaking the law, regardless of the posted speed limit.

Understanding How Oregon’s Absolute Speeding Limit Laws Apply

Many people believe that if they travel no more than 10 to 15 miles higher than the speed limit – or with the flow of traffic – they are not violating any laws. However, Oregon’s law is specific about how all state speeding laws apply:

  • Speeds higher than the limits required to comply with the state’s basic speed rule are not authorized.
  • Traveling at speeds higher than the posted speed limits on any road or highway is also not authorized.

In short, it is probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with all of Oregon’s speeding laws, because if you are over the limit for the speed zone you are driving in, you are breaking the law.

More Than a Legal Issue – Speed Kills

Traveling over the speed limit can do more than get you a ticket or points on your license. It can cause a deadly crash.

Newly released studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety are concerning. These latest crash tests show that even small increases in vehicle speed have a significant impact in collision outcomes.

The IIS and AAA conducted crash tests at three varying speeds of impact – 40, 50 and 56 mph. The tests revealed that going even slightly faster increased the risk of sustaining a serious or fatal injury.

Using a 2010 Honda CR-V EX crossover for the test, researchers say crash studies – at a high level – revealed the following:

  • At 40 mph – slight intrusion into the space where the dummy driver was positioned
  • At 50 mph – noticeably deformed driver-side areas included the door, foot area and dashboard
  • At 56 mph – the entire driver space was significantly compromised – sensors on the dummy driver registered for likely fractures in the lower leg area and serious neck injuries.

Tests at the two higher speeds also showed that the upward movement of the steering wheel at impact caused the dummy driver’s head to go through the deployed airbag, smashing its face into the steering wheel. On a live person, this type of impact could cause severe facial fractures and traumatic brain injuries.

Recent Portland Crashes Where Speed Was a Factor

According to the NHTSA, speed continues to be one of the leading causes of vehicle crashes across the country. Their latest statistics show speeding was involved in as many as one-third of all fatal collisions and is also the reason for 31 percent of all traffic deaths in crashes involving teenagers.

In Portland, where speeding is also a huge issue, there have been some recent crashes where investigators believe speed was a contributing factor:

One Killed in Speed-Related Single-Vehicle Crash

On March 3, a 22-year-old driving north on Southwest Barbur Boulevard lost control of his car, left the road and veered into a tree. He succumbed to his injuries at the scene.

Three Killed in Northwest Portland Car Crash

On February 10, a 21-year-old in a Mercedes station wagon lost control of his vehicle, slid sideways into the oncoming lanes of traffic and collided head on with a Toyota Tacoma. The driver and two other passengers aged 20 and 16 years, all sustained fatal injuries.

Injured by a Driver Violating the Speed Limit? Call Rizk Law for Legal Help

At Rizk Law, we are dedicated to fighting for a maximum recovery for victims injured because of another driver’s reckless actions. Drivers who violate speed limit laws are responsible for approximately 30 percent of all traffic deaths in Portland each year.

Contact our firm to find out whether you may have a case. Our experienced car accident lawyers in Portland are prepared to help. There is no cost or obligation to learn more.