Virginia State Police report several people injured in a two-car crash in Ashburn late Monday morning, including one victim who was taken to the hospital via medivac helicopter. The accident occurred at the intersection of Belmont Ridge Road and Hay Road at approximately 11:30 a.m. and resulted in several sections of road closed through the evening.
Police have released few details of the crash, including the conditions of any of the victims. There was significant damage to the two vehicles involved in the crash – a Tesla left with no front end and a Mazda 3 wedged against the parkway’s sound wall. According to media reports, the crash remains under investigation.
While police have not released information about the cause of the crash, one of the issues they will likely be investigating, especially based on the severity of the crash and damage to the two cars involved, is whether or not speed was a contributing factor. Car accidents caused by speeding is responsible for killing approximately 10,000 people each year in the U.S. That is almost one-third of all fatal crashes.
The difference speed makes in the severity of crashes is jarring. When a car is driving slowly, there is only a one percent risk of serious injury. If a vehicle is traveling at 50 mph, the risk of injury spikes to 69 percent and 52 percent risk for serious injury. If a car is traveling at 70 mph, the risk of a fatal crash is almost 100 percent.
When a driver is speeding, he or she is doing more than just breaking the law. The dangers of speeding include:
- There is a greater risk the driver will lose control of the vehicle
- The effectiveness of the vehicle’s safety protection system is reduced
- It takes longer and requires more distance for the vehicle to come to a stop once the driver realizes the danger ahead
When a driver is speeding and causes a crash, the driver can face both criminal and civil penalties. Under Virginia law, if a driver is traveling at more than 20 mph over the posted speed limit or over 85 mph regardless of what the speed limit is, they can be charged with reckless driving. Unlike a speeding citation, reckless driving is a criminal charge and is typically classified as a Class 1 misdemeanor. A conviction can result in fines of up to $2,500, a suspended license, and even jail time depending on the driver’s record and the circumstances of the incident.
In addition to criminal charges, the driver can also be held legally liable for personal injury damages victims suffer due to the injuries they sustained in the crash. These damages include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, emotional anguish, permanent disability, and more. A Virginia car accident attorney can evaluate a victim’s case and determine what financial compensation they may be entitled to.
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Car wrecks caused by speeding are one of the most avoidable types of crashes if only drivers would obey the rules of the road. When a driver ignores the speed limit, they put not only themselves in danger, but also everyone they share the road with.
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