Higher Speed Limits Lead to More Fatalities on Highways

Jul 31, 2009
In 1973, the United States government passed a law restricting the speed limit on all American roads to a maximum of 55 miles per hour.  As soon as the law was enacted, road fatalities began a steady decline that continued until 1987, when the law was changed to raise the speed limit to 65 in select states.  In 1995, the law was repealed completely and states were allowed to set the speed limit on their highways as they saw fit.  Currently, speed limits in the United States climb as high as 80 miles per hour.

According to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, traffic accidents and their impact on human life have increased dramatically since the repeal of the 55 miles per hour maximum speed limit.  Their study found that between 1995 and 2005, about 12,500 more fatalities occurred in traffic accidents than would have been expected with the old speed limit.  Car volume density, population density, variations in fleet sizes, the types of vehicles on the road, vehicle age, and driver habits were all considered when preparing the final data for this study.

While it may come as no great surprise that driving faster leads to more accidents, the most astonishing thing about higher speed limits is that drivers continue to exceed them every day.  In order to keep your fleet and the drivers with whom they share the road safe, it is essential to inform your drivers about good speed practices.  Vehicle monitoring systems are available to keep track of the speed of every vehicle in your fleet.  Talking to your drivers about safe speed practices will not only keep your fleet running smoothly, but will save lives in the process.  Not to mention that lower speed saves a lot of money on fuel.  For more information on driving safety, click here.

Photo courtesy of NathanFromDeVryEET under the Creative Commons License.