Deadly car accidents rise with higher speed limits

On behalf of Cuneo & Leonetti on Friday, May 17, 2019.

Lawmakers have raised speed limits over the past couple of decades, which has made many New Jersey drivers very happy. After all, higher speed limits help busy people get around much more quickly than in the past. Sadly, there is a downside to saving a few minutes during a morning commute, though. Experts have shown that higher speed limits lead to an increase in deadly car accidents.

Many often overlook speeding during discussions about road safety. This is perhaps because many of the high rates of speed that contribute to accidents fall in line with the legal speed limit. However, there is much more to the issue than this.

How does raising the speed limit hurt?

You have probably experienced a speeding driver whizz past you on the interstate. Lawmakers seem to focus on these speeders when they choose to raise speed limits. Proponents of raising the limits seem to think that this simply brings the law in line with the reality of how people drive. In theory, it should cut down on unnecessary speeding tickets and get all drivers on the road traveling at the same speed.

Reality is much different, though. When states raise speed limits, the drivers who were already speeding end up driving even faster than before. There are 41 states that have set the maximum speed limit at 70 mph, and another six states set theirs at 80 mph. This means that there are lots of drivers exceeding these speed limits.

Speeding drivers are deadly drivers

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently reported that 25 years of rising speed limits directly caused approximately 37,000 traffic fatalities. In 2017 alone, there were 1,900 deaths from rising speed limits. This information comes from an updated version of a 2016 study.

In the newer version, the vice president of research and statistical services at IIHS analyzed how changing speed limits affected driving outcomes. He determined that, when states increased speed limits by just 5 mph, it caused an 8% increase in interstate and freeway fatalities. There was a 3% increase on all other types of roads. He also concluded that these changes represented an additional 36,760 deaths that would have never happened if speed limits stayed the same.

Losing a loved one is never easy

Even if your family member was a safe driver who always wore his or her seatbelt, adhered to the speed limit and followed the rules of the road, there is nothing that can stop a speeding driver from acting negligently. This means that you might not only be dealing with the unexpected loss of your loved one, but also a number of other difficult matters. From dealing with unexpected funeral expenses, possible medical bills, lost wages and more, you may even feel as if you do not have time for grieving.

Wrongful death lawsuits can be a smart choice for New Jersey families who have lost loved ones in deadly car accidents. While no amount of compensation can ever bring someone back, it can help surviving family members address any lingering financial or emotional damages. Proving another driver’s negligence can be tricky, though, so speaking with an experienced attorney before moving forward is usually a good idea.