Increased Speed Limits Linked to Thousands of Deaths

A report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) links progressive speed limit increases over the last 25 years to 37,000 additional highway fatalities. A series of crash tests done in the Calspan Library supports these findings. These tests demonstrate that even slight speed increases often increase road accidents’ severity.

The tests compared the occupant protection provided by 2010 Honda CR-V crossover SUVs at speeds of 40, 50, and 56 mph. The car model used received top marks in IIHS’ crash tests. This model was a perfect representative of the nature of vehicles on the road currently. These tests replicated the effects of head-on collisions and partial-overlap crashes between two like-weighted, similar-sized vehicles moving at the same speed.

The Relationship between Speed and Car Crash Severity

The 40-mph test showed minimal intrusion into the passenger compartment. At 50 mph, however, the damages were considerably more intense. The car crash damaged the dashboard, the driver’s side door opening, and the foot region. Raising the speed to 56 mph resulted in even more damage to both the vehicle and driver. In fact, sensors on the crash test dummy indicated significant neck and lower leg injuries.

When the CR-V’s steering column moved upward at high speeds, the dummy’s head went through the deployed airbag and smacked against the wheel. There was a significant danger of fractures to the face and even catastrophic brain damage due to sensors indicating a high risk of serious injuries.

Speed-Related Fatalities

According to a quick calculation by the NSC (National Safety Council), a nonprofit that focuses on reducing preventable deaths, cars caused 42,060 fatalities in 2020, up from 39,107 in 2019. Speeding has caused almost 33% of car crash deaths over the past two decades. In fact, speeding contributed to 26% of all traffic deaths in 2019.

Is Speeding an Act of Negligence?

Speed is deemed an act of negligence in most personal injury lawsuits involving traffic accidents. A car accident lawyer can review accident scene photos, police reports, witness statements, and nearby surveillance camera footage to demonstrate the other driver was speeding and help the victim recover maximum damages.

A traffic offense is usually classified as negligence if the defendant’s actions place him or her in breach of a duty that results in an injury. Drivers are legally responsible for their safety, the safety of passengers and other motorists, pedestrians, and road users.

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