Former NFL Player Thomas Howard Killed in California Car Crash

November 22, 2013

Former NFL linebacker Thomas Howard suffered fatal injuries in a car crash in Alameda, California. According to a news report in the San Jose Mercury News, the fiery crash occurred early morning on November 18, 2013 on the Interstate 880 in Oakland. California Highway Patrol officials say Howard was driving his BMW northbound at speeds as high as 110 mph when he hit the back of a big rig he was swerving to miss.

The 30-year-old former Oakland Raiders linebacker's car flipped over the center median into the southbound lanes before careening into an oncoming Honda CR-V driven by Zenglong Liu, 64, of Hayward. Both Howard and Liu were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the big rig was uninjured. Officials say they have no evidence that drugs or alcohol was involved. They say it is "undisputable" at this point that reckless driving on Howard's part contributed to the crash. The investigation is expected to take several weeks to complete.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the deceased. I offer my deepest condolences to them.

The Dangers of Speeding

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) considers a crash to be speeding-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 was a contributing factor in the crash. In 2007, speeding was the contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes and 13,040 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes. In 2000, the cost of speeding-related accidents was estimated at $40.4 billion -- $76,865 per minute or $1,281 per second.

NHTSA officials say speeding is extremely dangerous because it reduces a driver's ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.

Change in Attitude and Behavior

The National Safety Council states that speeding is "a habitual driver behavior." Although drivers name speeding as dangerous to their safety, many still speed. The council states that education and awareness campaigns alone have not effectively reduced crashes. Speed enforcement gets lost in the midst of other traffic safety problems such as drunk driving and distracted driving. It is important for all of us to be aware of our limitations and the consequences of speeding on public roadways. In this case, two people died as the result of one person's reckless speeding. The question all of us must ask ourselves is: "Is speeding really worth it?"