In the 20-year period from 1993 to 2013, increases to maximum speed limits in states across the U.S. have caused approximately 33,000 accident fatalities.
Maximum speed limits are set by the states and have been rising since 1995 when Congress officially repealed a regulation known as the National Maximum Speed Limit, which required states adopt a maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour.
Supporters of increasing speed limits argue that raising the maximum limit aligns the law with the speeds that most drivers are going. However, studies have shown that once the maximum limit is raised, drivers travel even faster.
Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) researchers have found that travel speeds did indeed increase following the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit. The data also showed that fatalities increased as well.
A recent study performed by the IIHS analyzed the effects of speed limit increases in 41 states between 1993 and 2013 by looking at the number of deaths per billion miles traveled in each state and on each roadway type.
The study found that every increase in the maximum speed limit by five miles per hour also lead to a four percent increase in fatalities. On interstates and freeways, there was an eight percent increase.
If the state’s speed limits had remained unchanged during that twenty-year period, researchers calculated that approximately 33,000 fatalities would have been prevented across the country. That number essentially cancels out the number of lives protected by the addition of frontal airbags.
Researchers believe that this estimate may be low, given that it only takes into account speed limit increases in rural areas. Many areas have also increased speed limits in more urban locations as well.
Since the study ended, speed limits have continued to rise. Seven states have maximum speed limits over 75 mph, while multiple states have raised maximum speed limits to 70 mph. In Texas, the speed limit in some areas is 85 mph.
If you have lost someone you love in a fatal automobile accident caused by speeding driver, your family may be entitled to compensation. Contact the accomplished car accident lawyers at GWC Injury Lawyers today.