Jainchill & Beckert, LLC

Increasing speed limits leading to more deaths

While many Connecticut drivers like to get to their destinations quickly, a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed that the speed limit increases that have occurred throughout the country since 1987 have resulted in an estimated 33,000 additional deaths. According to the vice president for research and statistical services for the IIHS, the car accident fatality rates would have been lower if speed limits had not been raised.

States are responsible for setting speed limits within their borders. During the 1970s and 1980s, speed limits were held to 55 mph due to potential financial penalties. This was due to the fact that there were concerns over the availability of fuel. Since 1987, however, states have been slowly raising the posted speed limits as the fuel availability concerns were fading. Restrictions were first lifted for rural highways and later for main highways. Six states now have 80 mph speed limits.

As the speed limits were raised, the number of deaths began to increase. The fatalities involving speed as a factor first increased on the rural highways, though the fatalities increased on all interstates. Although 33,000 appears to be a large number, the author of the study noted that this is likely an underestimate.

Excessive speed is often a major factor in car accidents. Crashes that involved excessive speeding are likely to result in injuries that are far more serious than they would have been otherwise. People who have been harmed in such an accident may want to have the help of a lawyer when seeking compensation for their losses from the reckless driver.

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