Do Higher Speeds Result in More Deaths?

Categories: Car Accidents

higher speeds

We’re all familiar with the saying, “speed kills.” But, is it true? It sounds catchy, and it certainly seems to make sense, but is there any data behind it?

As it turns out, there is.

IIHS: Higher Speed Limits Increase Risk of Fatal Accidents

According to a study published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) earlier this year, since the U.S. Congress repealed the national 65 mph speed limit, state-imposed speed limits exceeding 65 mph have contributed to tens of thousands of deaths nationwide.

Examining crash statistics from 1993 through 2013 (1993 was actually two years before the national speed limit repeal, but other data show that accident fatality rates have increased since 2013), the study concludes that at least 33,000 deaths have been attributable to increases in highway speed limits. This is a huge number, and one that roughly equates to the number of traffic-related fatalities in the U.S. every year.

But, IIHS notes that the true toll of increased speed limits over the last two decades is actually likely to be even higher. This is because the 33,000 figure only takes into account speed limits that increased from 65 mph – the previous national maximum. It does not account for increases in lower speed limits in urban centers and other areas. In Florida, the current maximum speed limits are:

  • 70 mph on Interstate highways
  • 65 mph on four-lane divided highways in non-urban areas
  • 60 mph on other state highways

Other Factors that Affect Accident Rates in Florida

Of course, many drivers seem to treat speed limits as “ballpark” figures, while others seem to simply ignore posted speed limits altogether. At any time of the day or night, it is not unusual to be passed by someone who is doing 80mph or more on the highway. So, speeding above the limit is a major factor in auto accidents, as well.

In addition, some drivers drive too fast for their abilities or for the current road and weather conditions, even though they may be traveling below the posted speed limit. According to the Department of Transportation (FDOT), factors that can affect driver safety at and below posted speed limits include:

  • The time of day
  • Ambient light conditions
  • The driver’s familiarity with the road
  • Condition of the driver’s vehicle
  • Urgency and purpose of the trip
  • Length of the trip
  • Driver skill and personality
  • Speed of other vehicles
  • Traffic volume
  • Lane width

So, do higher speeds result in more deaths? The data say yes; and, in our experience representing accident victims in Florida, speed is certainly among the factors leading to vehicle collisions. Have you been injured or lost a loved one in an accident where you believe excessive speed may have been a factor? If so, call for a free consultation today.

Call Me, Brian D. Guralnick, Personally for a Free Consultation

At Brian D. Guralnick Injury Lawyers, we provide VIP treatment and experienced legal representation for auto accident victims throughout Florida. To find out if you may be entitled to financial recovery, call 561-202-6673 now.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. If you need advice on specific legal issues, please consult with a licensed Personal Injury attorney.

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