IIHS Study Finds Increased Speed Limits Lead to More Accidents

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on May 31, 2016

. Updated on March 23, 2022


silver car speeding accidentIncreasing maximum speed limits over the past 20 years have also increased deadly automobile accidents across the country, resulting in 33,000 fatalities.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted a study examining the impact of maximum speed limit increases in 41 states between 1993 and 2013. Researchers studied traffic deaths per billion miles traveled by the type of road and the state.

They found that every five mile per hour (mph) maximum speed limit increase caused a four percent increase in the fatality rate. Specifically, on freeways and interstates, the fatality rate rose eight percent – these roadways are most impacted by speed limit increases.

By comparing the states’ actual annual fatalities to the total expected if maximum speed limits were not raised, researchers determined that approximately 33,000 fatalities occurred during the 20-year study period which can be directly attributed to the speed limit increases. The IIHS says their estimate is likely low, as the study only examined maximum speed limits which were raised, rather than all speed limit increases and subsequent changes.

In 2013, there were 1,900 additional deaths that resulted from the speed limit increases. These deaths fundamentally cancelled the number of fatalities prevented by front airbags over the year. Overall, fatality rates declined during the period examined in the study, though they would have been even lower if speed limits were not raised in various states.

In the years following the IIHS’s study period, there have been more maximum speed limit increases, and they are climbing even higher. Five more states have increased speed limits above 75 mph, and many have increased maximum speed limits to 70 mph.

Six states now have speed limits of 80 mph, and there are some roadways in Texas which have a maximum speed limit of 85 mph.

Have you lost a loved one to a fatal traffic accident caused by a speeding driver? If so, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, and your pain and suffering. Contact our experienced car accident attorneys in South Bend for a free case review.

Contact our personal injury lawyers today at  (844) 678-1800.

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases