Increase in Fatal Accidents Tied to Increased Speed Limits

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on June 22, 2016 in Car Accidents
Updated on February 24, 2022

maximum speed limitAs states throughout the country continue to raise maximum speed limits, the number of fatal car accidents is also increasing. A new study has linked an estimated 33,000 deaths between 1993 and 2013 to increased maximum speed limits.

Researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reviewed data from 41 states over a 20-year period from 1993 to 2013, evaluating the number of deaths per billion miles traveled in each state and by roadway type.

While considering other factors that influenced the fatality rate, IIHS researchers concluded that for every five-mile-per-hour increase in the maximum speed limit, the fatality rate increased four percent. Freeways and interstates were most impacted by increased speed limits, with the fatality rate increasing eight percent on these types of roads.

Despite the shockingly high number of deaths associated with speed limit increases, researchers estimate that the number is likely underestimated. For this study, researchers only evaluated increases to maximum speed limits, which typically applies only to rural interstates, rather than all interstates. In some cases, maximum speed limits were only raised for one roadway section, though they may have been extended to apply to other sections at a later time.

In 2013 alone, there were 1,900 fatalities caused by maximum speed limit increases, which essentially cancels out the number of lives saved by front seat belts that year.

Since 2013, speed limits have continued to rise, and the trend of increased fatalities is not expected to end. Several states have increased maximum speed limits to 70 mph after 2013, while others have gone even further. There are now seven states with maximum speed limits over 75 miles per hour; during the study period, there were only two.

If you lost a loved one in an auto collision, our Milwaukee auto accident lawyers can help you fight for the compensation you deserve for your pain and suffering. Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Call our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys today at 877-877-2228 or complete our Free Case Evaluation form today.

Back to top