Do higher speed limits increase fatal accident stats?

On behalf of Lonnie M. Greenblatt, Attorney at Law posted in Car Accidents on Thursday, April 27, 2017.

Car Accident Fatality Rates

If you look at car accident fatality statistics in recent years, they've gone down. Over the last 20 years, this trend is clear. There are fewer fatalities, in large part because cars have gotten safer, so people are more likely to live through accidents.

Fatal Car Accident Rates Have Gone Down, But...

However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) claims that things could have been even better with lower speed limits. When they rise, the IIHS vice president claims it takes extra lives. In 2013, his study found that an extra 1,900 people passed away. The study looked at two decades worth of stats, and it found that rising speed limits had killed around 33,000 people.

Factors That Impact Car Accident Fatality Rates

What is perhaps most concerning is that these increases can cancel out other safety measures. He pointed out that roughly the same amount of lives were saved through the use of front airbags in 2013. While saving those lives is a positive, losing the same amount to increased speed means that it's all a wash.

States can increase speed limits, as they are not set at the federal level. The federal government can influence them, as it did in the 1980s when there were concerns about fuel and energy, and lower speeds were used to reduce energy consumption. The federal government threatened to withhold funding from states that didn't comply. That ended in the 1990s, though, prompting the rise during the survey.

Rockville Car Accident Attorney

No matter where speed limits are set, there are always going to be drivers who break those limits. When a speeding driver causes an accident in Rockville, MD and you're injured, you must know if you can seek financial compensation for medical bills and more.

Source: IIHS, "Speed limit increases cause 33,000 deaths in 20 years," accessed April 27, 2017