Speed Limits Rising: Will This Mean More Auto Accidents?
In response to the 1973 oil crisis, a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour was enacted. In 1995, states were given the authority to set their own speed limits and since then slowly began raising them on various roadways. Safety advocates argue that s
July 17, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- In response to the 1973 oil crisis, a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour was enacted in an effort to slow drivers down and save gas. It wasn't until 1995 when states were once again given the authority to set their own speed limits. Since then, states have slowly raised limits and continue to do so today. Safety advocates argue, however, that states are taking the initiative a bit too far and raising speeds to high, increasing the potential for more motor vehicle accidents. Texas, for instance, may soon implement an 85 mph limit on some highways.
Kansas, Louisiana, Texas Among States Raising Limits
Specifically, statistics show that states across the nation are raising speed limits mostly on rural interstates. Kansas and Louisiana both raised speed limits to 75 mph on portions of their interstates. Ohio and Virginia both raised speed limits on some highways to 70 mph. Texas, already with a speed limit of 80 mph, may soon be the first state to adopt an 85 mph speed limit on various roadways.
Why the Increase?
The reasoning behind the higher limits seems to be that it's safer if the speed limit is set at what most people are already driving in that particular area, regardless of the actual speed. The theory is that it keeps the traffic flowing, causes less passing and lane changing, and results in minimal disturbances between drivers.
The Michigan State Police Department agrees. According to a study conducted by the department, the safest speed to drive is the speed most people on that particular stretch of road are already driving, even if it is significantly faster than the posted speed limit.
Contrarily, a spokesperson for the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety insists that there is a connection between faster driving and fatal accidents. They say that nationally more deaths occur on roads where the speed limits have been raised.
The American Journal of Public Health attributes higher speed limits for 12,545 deaths in the 10-year span between 1995 and 2005.
Safety experts also point out that the faster a person drives, the longer it takes to slow down, stop or react to other drivers, which can also lead to accidents.
Despite an indication that higher speeds equal more accidents and deaths, states are continuing to evaluate their speed limits and raise them as needed.
Article provided by Weinstein Law
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