Recent studies from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Highway Loss Data Institute have revealed that increased speed limits over the last 25 years are tied to around 37,000 deaths from car accidents. Some people like the higher speed limits due to time. Getting to their destination faster seems to be an important factor in the desire for higher speed limits. According to Charles Farmer, the vice president of research and statistical services for Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Driving 70 mph instead of 65 mph only saves 6.5 minutes on a 100 mile trip. He also found that a 5 mph increase reflected an 8 percent increase in the fatality rates on interstates and freeways. Also, adding a 3 percent increase on other roads.
For perspective on Speed Limits:
Today, forty one states have a maximum speed limit of 70 mph or higher. Six states have 80 mph limits. Texas has some roads where the limits are 85 mph. See Map Above.
In 1993, nine states had a maximum speed limit of 55 mph with the remainder having a maximum speed limit of 65mph. See Map Below.
So What’s Being Done?
There will be a meeting held on April 15-16 between the IIHS and the Governors Highway Safety Association to design a model speed management program. The meeting will bring together highway safety advocates, researchers, local and state officials to brainstorm on the issue. Darrin Grondel, chair of GHSA’s Executive Board and Director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission said, “This gathering is an exceptional opportunity to craft the building blocks of a comprehensive speed management program that we can translate into action to really make a difference in our work of saving lives.” This is expected to address high-visibility enforcement and traffic engineering measures.
For more information please visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Highway Loss Data Institute.
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