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Rising speed limits may be leading to more fatal car wrecks

Higher speed limits on highways in Florida might please busy people, but they may also threaten the safety of motorists. The author of a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that the repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit, which had prompted states to disallow limits over 55 mph, has resulted in an increase in traffic fatalities. The deaths started to climb first on rural stretches of interstates and then on all sections of expressways.

The study looked at data across two decades, and researchers estimated that higher speed limits contributed to approximately 33,000 deaths. In just 2013, data attributed 1,900 additional deaths to rising speed limits. The study concluded that faster traffic speeds wiped out the number of lives saved by technological advancements like frontal airbags.

The IIHS vice president who wrote the study said that the findings took into account other factors such as fluctuations in employment levels, alcohol consumption and young drivers. After these adjustments, the statistical analysis produced a result that credited every 5 mph increase in speed limits with a 4 percent increase in traffic fatalities. He concluded that state lawmakers should consider the effects of speed limit legislation on the safety of travelers.

High traffic speeds can contribute to the severity of a car accident. A person injured or disabled after a crash caused by a reckless driver could pursue the recovery of financial damages. A lawyer could gather evidence from a police report and testimony from an accident reconstruction specialist in order to argue for a larger settlement.

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