Correlation between fatalities and higher speed limits

As California works towards a goal of zero fatalities from car accidents, one study is highlighting an issue that might be preventing this. Despite the increases in safety features in vehicles as well as programs that encourage safe driving, the study points towards the increasing speed limits throughout the nation as a cause for fatalities.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study looked at data from 41 states from 1993 to 2013 and found that the increase in speed limits had resulted in 33,000 additional deaths. The death rate from traffic accidents in general during the same period saw a decrease, but the study found that the number itself was higher than it would have been due to the increasing speed limit.

The issue stems from the relaxation and eventual repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit. The limit had been put in place in 1973 as a result of worries over available fuel, not over safety concerns that could result in a car crash. From 1973 to 1987, states had to comply with a 55 mph limit if they wanted to receive the maximum amount of highway funds. However, once the limit was relaxed, states began increasing that limit. California, for example, increased from 55 to 70 mph by 2013. Since 2013, some states have further increased their speed limits, with at least seven states having speed limits over 75 mph.

Speeding is often a cause of traffic accidents. When occupants of other vehicles are injured in a crash caused by a reckless motorist, an attorney could be of assistance in seeking compensation for the losses that have been sustained.

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