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The link between speed limits and roadway deaths

North Carolina residents may be interested to know that according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were 33,000 deaths attributable to higher speed limits in the past 20 years. However, that number may be higher. In 2013, there were 1,900 deaths attributed to higher speed limits, which was roughly the same number of lives saved by driver and passenger frontal airbags.

Between 1973 and 1995, states held their speed limits at 55 miles an hour under pressure from Congress. However, the limits were imposed because of a lack of fuel as opposed to driver safety. States were allowed to increase their speed limits from 55 to 65 miles per hour in 1987 as this concern faded. Proponents of increased speed limits contend that drivers go faster than posted speed limits anyway, so the increased limit simply brings the law in line with practical reality.

However, opponents point out that drivers tend to go even faster once the limits are raised. Data shows that fatality rates increased first on rural roads before spreading to all interstates after the full repeal of the National Maximum Speed Limit. When controlling for other factors such as younger drivers on the road and employment rates, it was determined that increased speed limits contributed to a 4 percent increase in fatalities.

Those who are hurt in an accident involving a reckless or negligent driver may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit. A driver may be negligent if traveling too fast for road conditions. An attorney could help an injured victim pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

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