The results of a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that higher speed limits have resulted in 33,000 deaths in the United States over the past 20 years. The fatality rates, which dropped during that period, could have been more significantly reduced without the increased speed limits.
In 1973, states that wanted to receive a portion of highway funds were required by Congress to adopt a 55 mph speed limit. While the National Maximum Speed Limit law was passed due to worries about the availability of fuel, one of its most significant results was a reduction in traffic deaths.
Congress began permitting states to increase speed limits on rural interstates to 65 mph in 1987. In 1995, Congress repealed the law, and since then, states have been increasing their maximum speed limits.
Supporters of higher speed limits state that the increases are in line with how most drivers tend to drive. However, when limits are increased, people tend to drive even faster.
Researchers at the IIHS determined that when the states began increasing travel speeds, the number of fatalities also increased. After the partial repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit law, the number of traffic deaths on rural interstates went up. When the law was fully repealed, the number of deaths on all interstates increased.
A speeding driver who is responsible for a car accident may be held personally liable for any injuries that result from the crash. A personal injury attorney may advocate on behalf of people injured in a hit-and-run or head-on collision. The lawyer may pursue financial damages against drivers who were drunk, sleepy, texting and driving or in any other manner negligent or impaired while operating a motor vehicle.