Do Higher Speed Limits Reduce The Rate Of Collisions?
It seems as if people drive longer and hit more traffic every day. This combination may result in boredom on the road, driving while tired or plainly, in distracted driving: talking on the phone, texting while driving, drinking, or using drugs while sitting behind the wheel. Those actions do result in many accidents and even fatalities. The question is, are posted speed limits also somehow to blame? Let’s find out if higher speed limits increase or reduce the number of accidents on the road.
Do higher speed limits result in more car accidents?
No, but they do cause more severe ones. Accidents that happen at high speeds more frequently result in deaths. This as a result of high-velocity items colliding with greater force. To date, the majority of studies on the subject demonstrate that freeway deaths increase as speed limits are higher. Another factor that may play a part in the increase of these accidents seems to be the fact that more people tend to prefer driving on roads with looser speed regulations and thus more traffic may be present there.
Are there any studies showing that higher speed limits cause fewer accidents?
There are some studies that seem to show that drivers tend to drive at speeds in which they feel comfortable, even in areas where higher speed limits are allowed. Additionally, some recent studies have helped to confirm that higher speed limits don’t necessarily lead to a higher number of accidents. Here are a couple of them:
- In 1995, New York State raised to 65 mph the speed limit on its highways. The result? The state’s accident rate dropped by 4%.
- In the year 2000, the Automobile Club of Southern California concluded that the number of accidents in the entire state did not increase over a period of five years even with higher speed limits.
On the other hand, some studies have proved just the opposite:
- In 2009, the American Journal of Public Health published a study that reveals that, between 1995 and 2005, there was a 3.2% increase in road-related deaths attributable directly to higher speed limits. This figure jumps to 9.1% when the accidents took place on rural interstates.
- According to the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (AHAS) nearly one-third of all fatal car accidents are a result of speeding.
- Another point against higher speed limits is the increase in fuel consumption, something motorists certainly don’t want, particularly at a time when reducing energy is what they want.
How can road safety be ensured even in the face of higher speed limits?
The best way to prevent accidents from happening, disregarding the imposed speed limits, is ensuring that there is uniform traffic flow. If all the cars are able to move uniformly when sharing the road, there is no reason for accidents to happen. When cars are forced to move at different speed rates, accidents occur.
Were you in an accident caused by someone speeding?
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