Motor vehicles are heavier and stronger than the human body. It should come as no surprise that many pedestrians suffer severe injuries or die when they are struck by a vehicle. What you may not realize is how much of a difference the speed of a vehicle makes regarding the degree of injury or the risk of death in such crashes.

Many times, pedestrians and vehicles wind up crossing paths in dense, urban areas where speed limits are low. Unfortunately, drivers often ignore the speed limit and go faster than they should. In the case of a pedestrian crash, a few extra miles over the speed limit could be the difference between the victim dying and surviving.

The faster someone goes, the greater the risk of death is

The faster the vehicle’s speed at the time of the crash, the more likely it is for a pedestrian or cyclist to die. When the speed is only 20 miles per hour (mph), the pedestrian or cyclist has a 93% chance of survival. With a car going at least 30 mph, their survival rate drops to 80%.

The same research also showed that once drivers reach about 40 mph, senior pedestrians and cyclists in their golden years are very unlikely to survive. Older adults are at higher risk for severe fractures and fatal injuries in car crashes. Of course, pedestrians and cyclists of any age can die when struck by a speeding driver.

Pedestrians or their surviving family members often have the right to bring a claim against the driver in after a crash. When that driver compounds the situation by breaking the speed limit, that choice may strengthen the claim against them.