Most people don’t like to admit that they break the law, but almost no one feels shame if they acknowledge that they habitually break or exceed the posted speed limit when they drive. Unlike most other forms of law-breaking, speeding carries very little social stigma and has low levels of enforcement aimed at it.

People often view speeding as one of a host of so-called victimless crimes. These offenses don’t cause direct harm to other people, and thus, people view them as less severe than other kinds of criminal offenses. They may even argue that such laws don’t require enforcement efforts.

However, classifying speeding as a victimless crime may be a mistake. Although the act of exceeding the speed limit doesn’t universally cause harm to others, it does drastically increase the likelihood that the person driving too fast will cause a motor vehicle crash that hurts or even kills someone.

How often does speeding play a role in serious collisions?

While speeding in and of itself does no direct harm to others, it increases the risks that everyone has on the road. You could compare speeding with drunk driving, as both offenses can lead to tragedy. 

According to data analysis by the National Safety Council, speeding played a role in 26% of all fatal crashes in 2018, which was the most recent year with data available. That means that this so-called victimless crime caused at least 9,378 people, which breaks down to more than 25 people every day. While that may represent a reduction, as 32% of fatal crashes involved speeding in 2010, it’s still a clear demonstration of the fact that speeding is not always victimless.

Excessive speeding is misconduct that leads to liability

When someone breaks the law, in the eyes of the courts, they have engaged in misconduct or wrongful acts. Doing so opens that person opted to liability claims brought by those harmed through their misbehavior.

In the case of speeding offenses, both those who suffer severe injuries in a crash caused by someone speeding and those who lose a loved one in a speeding-related crash may have grounds to seek compensation from the person who drove recklessly and caused a collision.