Higher speed limits lead to more fatal car accidents | Cohen & Cohen Law Group, P.C.
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Higher speed limits lead to more fatal car accidents

Most car commercials and advertisements seem to have the same message -- faster is always better. While high speeds might look good in a commercial, they do not look so good for driver safety. According to experts, higher speed limits cause thousands of fatal car accidents.

Higher speed limits reduce travel times for New York drivers. However, shaving minutes off travel time comes at the cost of more fatalities. Despite the growing problem, it does not appear as if any government officials will be lowering speed limits any time soon.

Is speed really an issue?

Charles Farmer, the vice president of research and statistical services at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety decided to analyze the impact of rising speed limits between 1993 and 2017. He concluded that increasing the speed limit by only five mph leads to an 8% increase in fatal accidents on freeways and highways. The five mph increase was also associated with a 3% increase in deaths on other roads.

Farmer's research also pointed out that speed limit increases do not necessarily translate to significantly shorter trips. If a driver on a 100-mile trip had a 70 mph speed limit instead of a 65 mph limit, he or she would only save about 6.5 minutes. Considering the increase in fatalities associated with that five mph increase, saving less than 10 minutes might not be worth it.

Why are speed limits going up?

States may set their own speed limits, and most began raising their limits back in the 1990s. States tend to view raising speed limits as a good measure. Since many drivers drive over the speed limit anyway, states that raise those limits believe they are making the law fall into line with reality.

While the effort to make the law reflect how people behave might be admirable, it is not effective. When speed limits go up, many people end up driving even faster over the new limit. Considering that speed-related accidents kill at least 10,000 people annually, this puts even more people at risk for fatal injuries.

Speeding drivers are killing people

Increasing speed limits have caused approximately 37,000 deaths over the last 25 years. In 2017 alone, those higher speed limits contributed to over 1,900 of them. Despite these fatalities, 41 states in the U.S. have speed limits that hit 70 mph or even higher.

If you lost a family member in a speed-related accident, you understand just how difficult this situation can be. While your family is trying to grieve this loss, you are probably also dealing with the burden of unexpected funeral expenses, lost wages and even medical bills from attempts at lifesaving care. Living in the shadows of fatal car accidents does not have to be a financial burden, though. Families who are struggling after the loss of a loved one may want to consider speaking with an attorney about their options for pursuing a wrongful death claim.

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