Most people on the road are eager to get to their destination quickly, but safety is always of utmost importance. Cities and states endeavor to balance these priorities with driving laws and speed limits, but a recent trend of increasing speed limits has been making its way across the United States. For Illinois drivers and passengers, this raises the question of whether higher speed limits mean more accidents, or more serious accidents.
According to a recently released study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are certainly some concerns. The study reviewed data from 12 speed limit changes across the country (6 increases and 6 decreases). Here is what was found:
- Collision incidences increased in two of the three Interstate Highways where speed limits increased;
- Conversely, lower speed limits seemed to be associated with lower collision rates;
- Travel time did not change substantially despite the changes in all instances.
This study is one of many data sets on the relationship between speed and collisions. Other data worth consideration is the number of speeding fatalities, which hit a 14-year high in 2021. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that speeding is a critical factor in nearly one-third of fatalities on the roads. The AAA Foundation has also published studies that involved speaking to traffic engineers about their anecdotal experience and comparing outcomes from crash test dummies with speed changes.
Regardless of these studies, the fact remains that speed limits may increase in Illinois and elsewhere. Even in areas where speed limits remain the same, people may drive at unsafe speeds and the accidents involved with such behavior can have devastating outcomes. Individuals who are seriously injured in a speeding crash should contact a local personal injury lawyer to understand their options.