Commuters often cheer when they see that speed limits have been increased on the roads they use most often, but should they be thrilled that they can legally drive a bit faster? Or should they be concerned that the higher speed limits are putting them and everyone else in serious danger?
One study claims it is more the latter than the former. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) said in a recent report that the last two decades of continuous increases to the speed limits around the United States have led to about 33,000 extra fatalities.
That's not to say that there have been 33,000 extra car accidents, although speeding does lead to some new crashes. The real issue, researchers said, is that the odds of someone dying go up if he or she is traveling faster at the time of impact. An accident that would have left someone injured but alive at a slower speed may take that person's life with the new, higher limits.
For those who want to point out that overall fatalities have dropped in the last 20 years, that's true. Researchers are not saying that they have gone up, but that they would be 33,000 lower than they are right now if the speed limits had not changed.
Plus, they point out, speed limits are a maximum rate of speed, at least in theory. In reality, many people assume the "limit" is more of a minimum, with many people driving as much as 10 mph over the limit on a regular basis.
Have you been injured in an accident with a speeding driver, or has a loved one been killed? If so, make sure you fully understand your legal options.
Source: Auto Insurance Center, "Do Higher Speed Limits Result in More Fatal Crashes?," Autumn Cafiero Giusti, accessed June 01, 2018