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Do higher speed limits correlate to higher death rates?

According to a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, increases in speed limits over the last two decades have contributed to approximately 33,000 automobile accident fatalities. The study focused on evaluating deaths per billion traveled miles within individual states and on different types of roadways. The results seem to conclusively express the dangerous relationship between driving faster and increased risk of injury or death to drivers and passengers.

The study notes that, in general, each speed limit increase of five miles per hour yielded roughly a 4 percent increase in fatalities per year. For interstates and freeways there was an 8 percent increase per five mph increase. When compared to the number of fatalities that were projected if speed limits had not been increased, the study determined that at least 33,000 additional fatalities have occurred over 20 years.

Sadly, that estimate is probably a low figure, according to the study. The parameters only looked at increases to maximum speed limits, which often do not apply to urban interstates. Also, only initial increases were taken into account, whereas subsequent speed limit increases or extensions of the area receiving a maximum speed limit increase were not considered. The study was also unable to include recent data after 2013.

Driving safely becomes more and more difficult with greater speed, but even for those who are conscientious, careful drivers, accidents can still occur. The experienced representation of a qualified attorney can help those who have experienced a car accident protect their rights to seek fair and equitable compensation for any injuries suffered and damages sustained.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Speed limit increases cause 33,000 deaths in 20 years," accessed July 15, 2016

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