Last night an Ohio House committee passed a bipartisan bill that would raise the speed limit on Intestate highways in Ohio to 70 MPH. Although many people support this measure, the Ohio State Highway Patrol does not, and with one very good reason: safety. Although a number of studies suggest that raising the speed limit does not necessarily increase the speed at which people actually drive, other studies suggest that raising the speed limit nonetheless increases the risk of fatal car accidents, and therefore the number of wrongful deaths we see on Ohio’s Interstate highways will likely go up.
In 2006, the Iowa Department of Transportation compared the fatality rates between Midwest states that had or had not increased their speed limits over 65 and found that raising the speed limits resulted in significantly more highway deaths. The study compared average traffic fatalities for the 8 years before and after the speed limit change. States where the speed limit was increased saw an average increase of 9% in traffic fatalities, while states that did not increase their speed limits saw an average decrease of 7% in traffic fatalities.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also cites figures from a New Zealand study of speed limits that showed an increase in traffic fatalities of 35% in states that raised the speed limit on rural highways from 65 to 70.
The most recent study in the US showed a 9% increase in traffic fatalities on rural highways attributable to raising speed limits, or a total of 12,545 deaths in the US from 1995 to 2005.
Although it may seem convenient, raising the speed limit on Interstate highways for cars and trucks will likely lead to hundreds of deaths, potentially reversing the trend of decreased traffic deaths.
If you have lost a loved one in a fatal car or truck accident, you may be able to receive compensation with a wrongful death lawsuit. To learn more about your legal rights, please contact the Columbus, Ohio personal injury lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA for a free case evaluation.