In the horrifying wake of a massive train wreck in Spain that claimed the lives of at least 78 passengers, many are seeking answers.
Our Tennessee car accident lawyers understand that while the investigation is still underway, witness reports have placed the speed of the train at about 120 miles per hour - more than twice the speed limit for the track.
Some news outlets were reporting that, last year, the driver had posted a photo on his social media site of his train speedometer at 125 miles per hour. Numerous friends and acquaintances scolded him for taking such a risk, but apparently, he continued to do it anyway.
A recent Daily Beast article raises the question of whether men in particular have a "deadly need for speed."
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, speeding is one of the greatest contributing factors in fatal crashes, accounting for more than a third of all traffic-related deaths.
But is it fair to single out the male gender as being the main culprits behind speed-related crashes?
In a word, yes.
A recent report by the Governors Highway Safety Association contends young males are overrepresented when it comes to speed-related crashes. Men between the ages of 16 and 40 are at especially high risk, particularly in rural areas, on the weekends at night.
In the U.S., speed was cited as the primary factor in 10,530 traffic-related deaths in 2010.
The World Health Organization reports that 75 percent of all car-related deaths involve male drivers.
Part of it may be a side effect of our modern society. We have become a society of thrill-seekers, and psychologists say this can be a powerful and sometimes even addictive impulse. Given that men are more likely to be reckless drivers in the first place, the combination of these two can be deadly.
In 2011, another train wreck - this one involving a mini-train intended for children at a South Carolina amusement park - resulted in the death of a 6-year-old boy. The male driver told officials he knew he'd been driving too fast at the time of the crash. The train derailed and in addition to the death, some 20 children were seriously injured.
On public roads, we are seeing many states post higher and higher speed limits - sometimes up to 85 miles per hour in some areas - which isn't likely to help the problem. Numerous studies have shown that raising the speed limits on highways increases the number of traffic deaths.
Researchers say combating the problem will take not only increased speed enforcement efforts, but also aggressive driving reduction efforts. Additionally, the GHSA recommends informational campaigns that target the cultural notion that speed is an acceptable - even desirable - driving habit, particularly among young male motorists.
If you are involved in a Knoxville traffic accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. at (865) 524-5657.
Men's Terminal Velocity: Why the Deadly Need for Speed? July 27, 2013, By William O'Connor, The Daily Beast