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Speed changes the odds of catastrophic injury for a pedestrian

When a pedestrian is hit by a car, a lot of factors influence the odds of injury or death. The size of the vehicle could play a role, for instance, as could the age of the pedestrian.

However, one thing that researchers found to have a consistent influence was simply the speed of the car. Even with small increases that drivers barely notice, the odds of death or serious injury increase dramatically.

For instance, the risk of significant injury when a car is going just 16 mph is calculated at 10 percent. This is far slower than most people ever drive for any extended distance.

By just 23 mph, also slower than the vast majority of traffic, the odds had skyrocketed. They hit a full 25 percent. That means serious injury is more than twice as likely when going just 7 mph faster. People often shrug off mild speeding, thinking it's not a big deal, but this tells a different story.

The increase continues. At a mere 31 mph, the pedestrian had a 50-50 chance of a serious injury. By 39 mph, it had climbed to 75 percent. By 46 mph, it hit 90 percent -- a virtual certainty that the person would be significantly hurt. By 58 mph, there was a 90 percent chance the person would be killed.

As you can see, even slight speed increases put people in incredible danger. If you've been hit by a speeding driver and you're facing high medical bills, make sure you know all of your legal rights.

Source: AAA, "Impact Speed and a Pedestrian's Risk of Severe Injury or Death," Brian C. Tefft, accessed Nov. 02, 2017

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