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Higher speed limits lead to more car accident injuries

On Behalf of | Jan 28, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

While it can be convenient to get from Point A to Point B a little faster, higher speed limits may pose a greater threat than benefit. Higher speed limits are associated with higher crash rates, increased injuries and even more deaths. Speed is also a common factor in many car accident injuries in Louisiana.

In 2019, speed contributed to 9,000 fatalities — about 26% of total crash deaths that year. Injuries tend to be more severe in speed-related crashes, too. Safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts, simply do not work as effectively in high-speed collisions.

How speed impacts a collision

Speed increases both the severity and deadliness of injuries in an accident. Some of the reasons for this are:

  • When drivers are traveling at excessively high speeds, they have less time to stop after noticing an emergency.
  • Speeding drivers take longer to stop after applying the brakes.
  • Drivers are more likely to lose control of the vehicle when making evasive steering maneuvers while speeding.

Higher speeds also mean that the force expended on vehicle structure is significantly higher. As that energy level goes up, vehicle structures are less likely to withstand crash force. This minimizes the chance of survival for occupants.

Higher speed limits are a problem

In the past, the national maximum speed limit was just 55 mph across all states. Lawmakers repealed that limit in 1995, which left states to set their own limits. A total of 11 states — including Louisiana — allow for speeds as high as 75 mph.

These higher limits are often the result of the 85th percentile approach. Advocates of this approach say that, when many people are driving over the limit, the limit should match how 85% of people are driving. The thought process is that this will encourage slower drivers to drive faster, getting everyone at the same speed and eliminating the issue of speed differences in accidents. Unfortunately, what tends to happen is that drivers who were already speeding then drive even faster than before, exceeding the new limit.

There are few things more terrifying than being involved in a serious car accident. The road to recovery is often long and overwhelming too, as you may have to deal with medical bills and lost wages on top of your physical recovery. While this can be a uniquely challenging experience, you would be well within your rights to explore your options for securing compensation through the proper legal channels.