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St. Louis Accident Injury Attorney on Speed Limit Increases

by Christopher Hoffmann on Oct. 28, 2016

Accident & Injury Accident & Injury  Car Accident Accident & Injury  Personal Injury 

Summary: Setting speed limits for rural and urban interstate roads, highways and roads within cities is an important factor in determining road safety, especially in view of increasing motor vehicle accidents and fatality rates.

Over the past two decades, the speed limits for various interstates, highways and intercity roads have been on a rise. This trend started after congress revoked the National Maximum Speed Limit law two decades back in 1995. At that time, the argument put forth was that the law was not aligned with reality, and motorists were traversing these roads at speeds exceeding the 55mph limit that was set by the NMSL law anyway.

The increase in speed limits and the attempt to align the law with reality has come at the cost of thousands lives. According to a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the increase in the speed limits across the country has been responsible for around 33,000 traffic related deaths in the past two decades. Moreover, the IIHS has pointed out that the increase in fatality rates have now offset the beneficial aspects of the law pertaining to strategies for implementing traffic safety.

The IIHS Speed Limit Study

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), conducted a nation-wide study to understand the effects of the speed limit increase with respect to traffic fatality data in 41 States. The study excluded the District of Columbia and 9 other states due to low rates of vehicle miles traveled.

For the purpose of the study, IIHS analyzed the fatality rates in different states per billion miles driven. The study also considered the kinds of roads these deaths occurred on (urban interstates vs. rural roads), and other factors that affect the traffic fatality data (like drunk driving) were taken into consideration too. The study revealed that –

  • Drivers normally drive a little faster than the set speed limits. Therefore with an increase in speed limits, they tend to drive even faster.
  • On any given roadway, every 5 mph increase in speed attributed to a 4% increase in death rate.
  • The highest speed limit increases were made for interstates and freeways. These roads saw an 8% increase in fatal accidents over the period of study.
  • In 2013 itself, about 1900 deaths were attributed to speed limit increases.
  • Since 2013, some states have further increased the speed limits (as many as five states having speed limits as high as 80mph). Therefore the data estimates of speed limit increase related fatalities are fairly conservative.

With speed limits further increasing, the vice-president of the IIHS Chares Farmer has voiced his concern that the trend in increasing speed limits does not show any signs of abating, and that lawmakers should be wary of the severe consequences of higher speed limits.

With such increase in speed limits, it is no surprise that the occurrence of car accidents will also likely increase, as will the fatality rates.

If you have been involved in a St. Louis car accident you are likely burdened by many expenses. Ensure that your legal right to compensation is protected by speaking with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney. Call The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C. today at (314) 361-4242 for a free case evaluation.

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