In the state of Florida, the speed limit on rural highways is 65 miles per hour and the speed limit on urban highways is 70 miles an hour. Speed limits are getting faster nationwide, with lawmakers increasingly moving to raise limits. LA Times reports there are 13 states that have increased their speed limits since 2005. In some locations, speed limits are as high as 80 MPH and there are states considering raising limits on certain stretches of interstate to 85 miles per hour.
The trend towards making speed limits higher affects everyone throughout the United States. Political pressure mounts nationwide as one state raises its limit, followed by others. For example, when speed limits are raised in Georgia (one of the 13 states to allow higher speeds since 2005), this in turn can result in calls for lawmakers throughout Florida to take the same action. These elevated speed limits do not actually make that much of a difference in terms of getting people to their destination faster. Raising the limit by five miles per hour would only cut around two hours total off of a cross-country drive. While the benefit in terms of convenience is relatively low, the cost in terms of risk is very high.
Raising Speed Limits Exacerbates Road Safety Risks
When the speed limit goes up, being on the roads gets more dangerous in many ways. One of the biggest issues is speeding accidents are more likely to occur. Car accidents happen more often at high speeds for several reasons. Drivers who are going faster will take a longer time to stop their cars because there is more momentum in the vehicle. This means the car will travel for further distances. After a driver hits his brakes to try to avoid a crash, the car going further means there is less of a chance the accident could be averted before a collision happens.
It is also more dangerous to be involved in a collision at a higher speed. When cars collide at a higher speed, the crash energy is significantly greater. Systems like restrains, crash cushions and road barriers can only absorb and mitigate so much energy caused by a crash. When vehicles go too fast, these safety devices are no longer as effective and motorists are much more likely to be killed or seriously hurt in the accident.
When the speed limit rises, the amount of crash energy to be dealt with goes up exponentially. If the speed limit is raised from 40 MPH to 60 MPH, this is a 50 percent increase in how fast drivers are allowed to go. However, the accident generates 125 percent more crash energy. Drivers are much more likely to be hurt or killed as their bodies are forced to accept this added impact.
Speeding accidents already caused 9,613 deaths in 2013 and speeding is a contributing factor in 29 percent of car accidents. Speed limits do not need to go even higher to increase risks further.
If you or a loved one is injured in a traffic accident, visit http://www.davidglatthornlaw.com or contact David J. Glatthorn at 800-990-9394 to discuss your rights. Serving West Palm Beach, FL, Palm Beach County and all of South Florida.