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Do Higher Speed Limits Make Roads More Dangerous?

Do Higher Speed Limits Make Roads More Dangerous?
Christian J. Amendt

Some argue that speed limits should be higher, that low limits are only set so low to generate more ticket revenue. Is this true, or do roads actually get more dangerous when speed limits go up?

To find out, a study looked at speed limit changes and accidents involving incapacitating injuries and death. Both were more likely, per the study, at higher speeds.

Specifically, when a speed limit was raised from 55 mph to 65 mph, there was a 24 percent increase in the odds that fatal injuries would occur. On top of that, even the amount of accidents went up by 3 percent, meaning the total number of deaths would actually jump by 28 percent. So, not only did higher speeds yield more crashes, but it turned crashes in which people survived into fatal accidents.

The study also looked at a rise from 65 mph to 75 mph. The odds of a crash turning deadly went up by 12 percent, while the amount of crashes went up by .64 percent. That led to a total increase in deadly crashes of 13 percent.

A similar study was carried out by the American Journal of Public Health. It found that increased limits led to a 3.2 percent rise in deaths. Over a decade, that meant 12,545 people passed away. Another 36,583 were hurt.

As you can see, the stats paint a clear and rather bleak picture. Increased limits do increase the dangers. If you’re injured in an accident or if a loved one is killed, you must know all of your legal rights.

Source: OLR Research Report, “Speed limit increases and accident rates,” Paul Frisman, accessed Nov. 08, 2017