Higher speed limits are causing more people in Tennessee and across the U.S. to die in traffic accidents, according to a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In fact, researchers found that rising speed limits have led to the deaths of an extra 37,000 people over the last 25 years.
In 1995, the national 55 mph speed limit was scrapped. Since then, seven states have increased their highway speed limits to 80 mph. Another 41 states have increased their speed limits to 70 mph. For the IIHS study, researchers analyzed traffic death statistics between the years of 1993 and 2017, and they controlled for influential factors like youth, unemployment and seat belt use. They found that 36,760 more people died in highway accidents during that period of time than would have died if the speed limits had remained at 55 mph. For reference, that’s slightly less than the total number of Americans who have been killed in motor vehicle accidents each of the last three years.
While advocates of higher speed limits claim that many drivers need to save time by traveling faster, opponents say the extra deaths caused by higher limits aren’t worth it. The study found that traffic deaths increase 8.5% for every 5 mph jump in highway speeds.
Excessive speed is one of the top causes of serious car accidents in the U.S. An individual who has been injured in a car wreck caused by a speeding driver could have grounds to file a personal injury claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. The victim could begin the lawsuit process by contacting a law firm that handles car crash claims. Legal counsel could help prepare the plaintiff’s case and work to get the maximum settlement possible on their behalf.