As Virginia and other states continue to raise speed limits, roadway safety groups grow more concerned. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety determined approximately 37,000 more people have lost their lives in accidents due to raising the speed limit.
Researchers discovered that motor vehicle accidents with fatalities increased by 8.5% for every 5 mph increase over the last 25 years. Considering that car manufacturers have increased performance and safety functions on most vehicles produced, researchers speculate that the number of fatalities could be worse. However, even with advances in car safety, increased speed limits continue to affect roadway deaths.
In 1995, legislatures passed laws to abolish the national 55 mph speed limit. Since then, most states have seen a dramatic increase in speed limits. There are 41 states that have allowed speed limits to increase to 70 mph on interstates and highways, and seven states have allowed increases to as much as 80 mph on certain stretches of highway. Texas has a single tollway that allows speeds of up to 85 mph.
Speeding is certainly not the only factor impacting roadway deaths. Researchers state that drunk driving, lack of seat belt use, increase in young drivers and even unemployment have all had a significant impact in the rising number of traffic fatalities. Pedestrian and cyclist deaths have also risen over the past few years.
Those who are in favor of the increased speed limits argue that faster speed limits save drivers a substantial amount of time when traveling. However, critics point out that the risk to human life is not worth the gain in time.
Those who have suffered injuries or lost loved ones in areas where speed limits have been increased could have a legal case for damages against the negligent party. Consulting an attorney who is experienced in high-speed car crashes may be helpful in proving negligence of the at-fault party and assist in gaining compensation for ongoing medical issues.