Speed Limit Increases Equal More Deaths, Study Finds | Edmunds

Speed Limit Increases Equal More Deaths, Study Finds


ARLINGTON, Virginia — A new Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study said increases in speed limits over two decades have cost 33,000 lives in the U.S.

"In 2013 alone, the increases resulted in 1,900 additional deaths, essentially canceling out the number of lives saved by frontal airbags that year," the report said.

Maximum speed limits have been on the rise since 1995. Today, six states have 80 mph limits, while drivers in Texas can legally drive 85 mph on some roads.

The report found that each 5-mph increase in the maximum speed limit results in a 4 percent increase in fatalities.

"The increase on interstates and freeways, the roads most affected by state maximums, was 8 percent," the Institute said.

Traffic fatalities are becoming an increasing concern to safety experts.

In testimony last week before a House panel, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief Mark Rosekind said safety regulators are "dealing with the very troubling here-and-now fact that traffic fatalities appear to have grown by 9 percent in 2015, erasing years of safety gains."

NHTSA research shows that in 94 percent of crashes, a human error or decision is the critical reason for the crash.

"Whether it is impairment through alcohol, drugs, fatigue or distraction; recklessness and speeding; or other unsafe behavior, our own, human choices are the greatest threat to highway safety," Rosekind said.

Edmunds says: It's best to keep these trends in mind as you decide just how much safety equipment you want to add to your new vehicle.

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