A new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that increased speed limits across the nation have been linked to an increase in fatality rates. A recent accident which sent seven people to the hospital, six of whom were children, highlights the dangers of speeding and failing to adjust speed to the current road conditions.
Due largely to concerns over fuel shortages, the US Congress enacted the National Maximum Speed Limit in 1973, setting 55 mph as the fastest speed limit that states could legally set. While this measure resulted in lower fuel consumption, it also resulted in a dramatic decline in roadway fatalities. As energy concerns abated, the law was relaxed and ultimately repealed in 1995. It was then that states began to increase their speed limits. Connecticut increased its statewide maximum speed limit to 65 mph in 1999. Other states have set a maximum limit of 70 or 75, and portions of Texas have a maximum speed limit of 85 mph, the highest in the nation.
Generally, fatality rates as a result of car accidents have trended downward over the past forty years due to factors such as improvements in vehicle design and changes to laws such as those governing drunk driving and teen drivers. What the IIHS study uncovered is that these fatality rates would be even lower, were it not for the fact that states have been steadily increasing their speed limits. In fact, over the past twenty years, the IIHS study found that there were 33,000 additional roadway fatalities than would have occurred had speed limits not been increased. In 2013 alone, 1,900 additional people were killed in crashes that likely would not have occurred but for the increased speed limit, which effectively cancelled out the number of people whose lives were saved that year from frontal airbags. According to the study, with each 5 mph that the state’s speed limit increased, the statewide rate of road deaths increased by 4%.
A recent accident on Route 8 in New Hartford sent seven of the eight occupants of a van to the hospital. The driver of a Ford Econoline van was traveling in the passing lane at an unreasonable speed when he lost control of the van, left the road and crashed the van into a tree. Police concluded that the van hydroplaned. The van was occupied by the adult driver and another adult, along with six children, and all but one of the van’s occupants were transported to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center for treatment of non-serious injuries.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident with a reckless or negligent speeding driver, seek experienced and compassionate legal representation to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, and contact the Connecticut personal injury lawyers at The APEX Law Firm, in New Britain at (860) 900-0900, and in Milford at 203-877-4141.