Early Tuesday morning, a car was speeding down Ulmerton Road in Largo when its driver tried to change lanes and pass a dump truck, . The car didn't make it, instead crashing into the back of the truck near 66th Street North.
Both of the car's occupants, men in their 20s, were taken to the hospital. The driver, Cameron Richard Bosley, 24, was in serious condition at Bayfront Medical Center on Tuesday evening. His passenger, Michael Edward Graziano, 23, was in critical condition, according to the Tampa Bay Times. Both men live in Dunedin.
Young men are more likely than any other group to be involved in speed-related crashes, according to the National Safety Council. According to national statistics from 2007, about 39 percent of males ages 15-20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.
In December, two men in their 20s were killed in a crash on Indian Rocks Road in Largo. Their car was also traveling at a high speed, according to a report on TBO.com.
Going further back, the Graziano family was affected by another crash involving young male drivers and speeding.
In August 2007, Michael Graziano's brother John was a passenger in a Toyota Supra driven by Nick Bollea, the son of Terry Bollea, more popularly known as Hulk Hogan.
Bollea was speeding on a rain-slicked road, lost control of the car and crashed into a palm tree on Gulf to Bay Boulevard in Clearwater, according to a report in the Tampa Bay Times. John Graziano suffered severe brain damage in the crash and was hospitalized for more than two years. The decorated Marine is now cared for full-time by his mother, Debra, according to Bay News 9.
Speeding is a factor in about one out of three fatal crashes nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Like Tuesday's crash, most speed-related fatalities occur at night. In a 2007 study by the NHTSA, about 66 percent of urban speed-related crashes occurred at night.
Other common factors in fatal crashes include alcohol and not wearing a seatbelt.
The NHTSA defines a crash as speed-related "if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions or exceeding the posted speed limit contributed to the crash," according to the National Safety Council.
The council says that drivers, especially young drivers, speed for many reasons, including:
- being in a hurry;
- thinking the laws don't apply to them;
- not viewing their behavior as dangerous; and
- not expecting to be caught.
Education and enforcement help reduce speed-related crashes, according to the council.
In Pinellas County, the Florida Highway Patrol uses routine speed enforcement and Operation SALTE, or Saving a Life through Enforcement. The program sends troopers to various locations to target aggressive drivers and those not wearing seatbelts.
"As for risks to others, speeding plays a significant role in the numbers of crashes we and other local law enforcement investigate, hence the enforcement and educational efforts," said Sgt. Steve Gaskins of the highway patrol.
In Pinellas County, drivers may call *FHP (*347) to report aggressive or impaired drivers, or other major traffic issues.