According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, repealing the National Maximum Speed Limit Law has contributed to the death of tens of thousands of people over two decades. It is believed that as many as 33,000 fatalities could have been avoided if speed limits had not increased.
Driving too fast contributes to a large proportion of all traffic-related deaths according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. Since many motorists tend to exceed set limits in the first place, increasing speed limits results in even faster driving and the probability of more fatal car accidents.
In 2014, there were over 9,000 speed-related fatalities, which represents 28 percent of crash deaths in the U.S. Overall, studies show that the number of deaths has climbed 4 percent with each 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit.
Despite the risks, the trend toward raising speed limits is growing across the country. In 2013, only Texas and Utah had limits above 75 mph. Five more states have followed since then, and others have abandoned 65 mph limits for 70 mph.
Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, “Speed limit increases cause 33,000 deaths in 20 years”, April 12, 2016.