Study Shows Higher Speed Limits Cause More Deaths on the Road


On Thursday of last week, the IIHS claimed that rising speed limits throughout the US are the cause for a jump in highway fatalities.

The new findings showed that almost 37,000 more drivers have died because of the increase in speed limits across the nation’s highways. If the limits had not been raised, fewer drivers might have died.

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Approximately 10,000 people die every year in speed-related crashes on average. The problem focuses on the fact that many drivers still go faster than the posted speed limit, regardless of what that limit is. Therefore, if the posted limit remained at 65, people are still likely to go 70 to 80 miles per hour, but when the speed limit raised to up to 85 mph, people might consider going 90 or 100.

Texas has one of the highest speed limits throughout the nation with some roads allowing up to 85 mph, though most US highways have speed limits between 70 and 75 mph. Many rural western states allow for up to 80 mph while many east-coast states cap the limit at 65 mph.

Many Factors

The study did look at many factors to calculate the increased amount of deaths based on rising speed limits, beginning in 1993. The IIHS had to research annual traffic deaths for each mile and each state. The entity also included factors, such as the age of the driver, unemployment rates, and if seat belts were used correctly.

Results did show that a 5-mph increase in the speed limit correlated with up to an eight percent increase in traffic fatalities on the freeways and highways. Along with such, the IIHS found that there is a three percent increase in deaths on non-highway roads with a 5 mph increase. The IIHS also estimated that if the speed limits hadn’t changed in 1993, almost five percent (2,000) of people who died in speed-related accidents might still be alive.

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Study Shows Higher Speed Limits Cause More Deaths on the Road

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