Increasing Speed Limits: Getting There on Time vs. Getting There Safely
In 1973, the federal government instituted the national maximum speed limit to be 55 miles per hour (mph), but the goal at the time was not to save lives; it was to save fuel. The National Research Council noted that, in the first year of the new speed limit, the number of people killed in motor vehicle crashes fell by 9,100. States whose speed limits exceeded 55 mph had their highway funds withheld until they complied with federal law.
That changed in 1987 when the regulation was loosened to exclude rural interstates. In 1995, Congress totally repealed the national maximum speed limit. Today, many states maintain speed limits greater than 55 mph. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 41 states have set a maximum speed limit of 70 mph on some of their roadways, which led the organization to ask if it’s better to get somewhere faster than to get there safely.
The IIHS states that speeding increases the likelihood of a crash and crash-related fatalities. In 2015, more than 9,000 deaths resulted in crashes where speed was involved, accounting for 27% of all crash-related deaths. Further, the organization says that increasing the maximum speed limit will mean more crashes and more fatalities.
Still, many state officials are looking to raise the speed limit. The Wall Street Journal reported that the state of Nebraska is introducing a bill that would increase the maximum limit from 75 to 80 mph. If the bill were to become law, Nebraska would become the seventh state with an 80-mph speed limit. Currently, New York State’s maximum limit is 65 mph, according to the IIHS.
States have increased speed limits in order to reduce travel times, but the Journal points out that is not as beneficial for daily commuters who drive to work. According to the article, a person driving for 50 miles at 80 mph would reach their destination only two-and-a-half minutes faster than if they traveled at 75 mph. If they decided to drive at 89 mph, there would only be a six-minute differential between that driver and someone driving at 75 mph.
The IIHS says that, for every five miles per hour the speed limit is increased, the probability of a crash goes up by 8%. The group also observed the number of fatalities between 2003 and 2013 in 41 states and discovered that, had these states maintained a 55-mph maximum speed limit, there would have been 33,000 fewer deaths on the road.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to contact an experienced New York personal injury lawyer who can fight for the compensation you deserve. Goldberg Sager & Associates is experienced in dealing with all aspects of auto accident injury law and is dedicated to helping clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case. Contact the Brooklyn personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Sager & Associates at (347) 497-3245 for a free phone consultation.