According to a study performed by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), speed limit increases across the country have caused 33,000 fatalities over the past 20 years. The number of resulting deaths in 2013 alone effectively cancelled out the lives saved by front airbags: 1,900 fatalities occurred.
The study examined speed limit increases which took place in 41 states between 1993 and 2013. Considering deaths per billion miles driven, as well as factors which could alter fatality rate, the IIHS determined that every 5mph speed limit increase caused a four percent fatality increase.
Researchers say despite their total, it’s likely the actual number of related deaths is higher, considering the restrictions of the study. Higher speed limits have been imposed in several states in just the past three years, which was not analyzed as part of the study; during the study period, there were only two states with speed limits over 75mph. Even so, the 33,000 estimated deaths caused by increased speed limits over the past two decades is nearly equivalent to the nationwide total of traffic fatalities in recent years.
A History Of Higher Speed Limits
Maximum speed limits have been on the rise since 1995, when the law mandating maximum speeds of 55mph was repealed entirely. With no more federal financial penalties pressuring states to keep speed limits down, states have been setting new maximum speed limits.
There are six states in which drivers can travel up to 80mph. On some Texas roads, the speed limit is 85mph. Many other states have done away with 65mph speed limits in favor of 70mph.
Proponents of higher speed limits say raising them should be done, as drivers already speed. Unfortunately, when speed limits are raised, drivers tend to speed even faster.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal automobile accident, a personal injury attorney of O’Connor, Acciani & Levy can help your family recover maximized compensation to pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.