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AAA Study Finds Speed Limit Increases Can Lead to Deadlier Roads

Speeding car at night with motion blur to indicate it's going very fast.

According to a recent nationwide accident study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, increasing speed limits on highways leads to a higher occurrence of car accidents.

“The movement in statehouses to raise speed limits is happening across the country,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “But the benefits are overrated, and the risks are understated. Increasing speed limits does not always yield the positive results envisioned by traffic planners.”

Higher speed limits Mean more collisions

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety conducted an extensive study examining the impact of changing speed limits on highways. Analyzing 12 highways across the country - half with increased speed limits and the other half with lowered speed limits - the researchers made significant findings.

Two of the highways that raised their speed limit experienced an increase in car accidents, while all six highways with reduced speed limits saw a decrease in car accidents. Interestingly, the anticipated benefit of faster travel times due to higher speed limits did not materialize. Across all 12 highways, travel times remained virtually unchanged, as noted by AAA researchers.

“It is critical to consider the safety implications when local transportation authorities contemplate making changes to posted speed limits,” said Diana Gugliotta, Director of Public Affairs at AAA Northeast.

Speed-related accidents on the rise

In recent years, the number of car accident fatalities caused by speeding drivers has shown a troubling upward trend. According to the National Safety Council, speeding-related fatalities reached a staggering 12,330 in 2021, marking the third consecutive year of increase. These speeding-related fatalities represent a significant portion of all car accident deaths, accounting for more than 29 percent in 2021, a notable 7.9 percent rise from the previous year.

Although there was a slight decrease in speeding-related fatalities in 2022, they still comprised a concerning 27 percent of all car accident deaths that year, as reported by the AAA. This issue has led federal and state agencies to prioritize raising awareness about the hazards of speeding to promote road safety.

Speeding is a problem in Texas

Speeding has become a serious concern in Texas, surpassing the national average in terms of its contribution to car accidents. The Lone Star State witnessed a disconcerting surge in speeding-related accidents in 2021, reaching a grim milestone in fatal car accidents.

In 2021, Texas recorded a staggering 1,568 fatalities caused by speeding drivers, based on data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This alarming figure marks the highest number of speeding-related car accident deaths in Texas over a decade. In fact, speeding emerged as the primary contributing factor in 34.8 percent of all car accident fatalities in the state throughout 2021.

Why is speeding so dangerous?

Speeding is a leading factor in causing more severe accidents for several reasons, including:

Increased Force

When vehicles are speeding, the impact during a collision is much more forceful, leading to greater vehicle damage and more severe injuries to those involved.

Reduced Reaction Time

Speeding drivers have significantly less time and space to respond to sudden changes on the road or unexpected maneuvers by other vehicles, making accidents more likely to occur.

Compound Risk

Speeding drivers often exhibit other dangerous driving behaviors, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or texting while driving, further elevating the risk of accidents and jeopardizing road safety.

Holding negligent drivers accountable

At The Marye Law Firm, P.C., we understand the devastating impact that speed-related crashes can have on victims and their loved ones. Our highly-skilled car accident lawyers are dedicated to helping crash victims in Dallas, TX navigate the legal process and fight for the compensation they deserve.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, we are here to support you every step of the way. Our compassionate team is ready to listen to your story, answer your questions, and provide you with the guidance and representation you need. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation.

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