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IIHS Study Reveals Speed Limit Increases Caused 37,000 deaths

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80 MPH Speed Limit

Over the last 25 years, nearly 37,000 deaths can be attributed to increasing speed limits, according to a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study also reveals that 2017 accounted for over 1,900 deaths.

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The results of the IIHS study and plans to develop a model speed management program were discussed by researchers, federal, local, and state officials, and highway safety advocates on April 15 and 16 during a forum hosted by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the IIHS.

“About 10,000 people a year die in speed-related crashes,” IIHS President David Harkey says. “We can reduce this toll through effective, high-visibility enforcement and traffic engineering measures. Reasonable speed limits also have a crucial role to play, as our new study demonstrates.”

The IIHS reports that speed limits of 70 mph or over can be found in 41 states; 80 mph limits are found in six states; and some roads in Texas allow drivers to accelerate to 85 mph.

“Speeding has become almost a forgotten issue in traffic safety discussions, and clearly we’re losing any sense of limits,” said Darrin Grondel, chair of GHSA’s Executive Board and director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission.

Charles Farmer, IIHS vice president for research and statistical services, estimated in the study that if the speed limits would have remained as they did in 1993, 1,934 out of the 37,133 people who died in vehicular accidents in 2017, would have been spared.

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“Driving 70 instead of 65 saves a driver at best 6 ½ minutes on a 100-mile trip,” Farmer says. “Before raising speed limits, state lawmakers should consider whether that potential time savings is worth the additional risk to lives.”

News Source:Insurance Institute for Highway Safety