Fact: Raising the Speed Limit Results in More Fatalities

It is fairly intuitive—the faster the speed limit, the higher the potential for injury and death. The higher the speed limit, the longer it takes automobiles to slow to a stop, the greater the momentum of each vehicle and the fewer control drivers have when they make any type of maneuver, particular emergency maneuvers like braking or swerving. While fast speed limits are obviously less safe than slower speed limits, many states throughout the country have decided to raise their speed limits—something that Missouri has been contemplating for a number of years.

  • Oregon—Oregon recently raised its maximum speed limit to 70 miles per hour, which immediately resulted in dozens of deaths in the rural, eastern half of the state. As reported by the Associated Press, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) found that on highways where the speed limit had been increased, fatalities rose by 10 percent within 26 months, while on roads where the speed limit was not increased, traffic fatalities dropped 3.5 percent in that same time frame.
  • Ohio—When Ohio increased the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on parts of its highways, reports quickly revealed a 22 percent increase in crashes, injuries, and fatalities, according to Clever Scene.
  • Texas—Texas has the highest speed limit of any state at 85 miles per hour. Throughout speed limit increases, researchers in Texas have found a corresponding increase in injuries and deaths. In the year after a one-speed hike, there was an 8.3 increase in injuries and a 9.1 percent increase in fatalities, which are both still rising as the speed limit keeps creeping up, as reported by the Insurance Journal.


Speed Limits Have Been Increasing Ever Since the Energy Crisis

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), during the 1970s and 1980s, most states had maximum speed limits of 55 miles per hour, mainly out of fear of financial penalties that would be imposed on them if the speed limits were to be raised. However, when the fuel shortage ended in the later 1980s, Congress lifted the law that regulated speed limits and the financial penalties that states faced, and many states quickly upped the speed limit by 10 miles per hour. In the last few decades alone, from the late 1990s to 2016, 33,000 Americans have died just because of the increase in speed limits. In one recent year alone, 1,900 people died because of increased speed limits, which canceled out the number of people saved by front airbags.


A Kansas City Traffic Collision Attorney Can Help You Today

Excessive speed is a factor in the majority of traffic collisions and is something that needs to be addressed if you were recently involved in a crash. Our Kansas City car accident lawyers work with law enforcement, private investigators, expert witnesses, and crash scene reconstructionists to figure out how the crash occurred, and who should be held liable. To schedule a free consultation, call Krause & Kinsman Law Firm at 816-399-3356 today.

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