So far Iowa has resisted the trend to increase highway speeds despite being surrounded by states who have adopted speeds up to 80 mph. Efforts to increase speed limits on Iowa freeways and rural roads failed in the Legislature this year amid safety concerns and, if data pouring in from other states is any indication, lawmakers may have it right.
The Wisconsin Journal Sentinel recently reported that fatalities, injuries and car accidents are up on Wisconsin’s interstates following last year’s speed limit increase. Fatalities rose from 27 to 37 and accidents increased by over 1000 between June of last year and June of 2016, coinciding with the increase in speed limits from 65 to 70.
In 2011, Kansas lawmakers approved legislation allowing the state’s Department of Transportation to increase freeway speed limits to 75 mph. After comparing fatalities three-and-a-half years before and after the increase took effect, they found that fatalities rose 22 percent on roads with the increased speeds.
National research supports that higher speeds result in more fatal accidents. An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study shows that increases in speed limits over the last couple of decades across the country have cost more than 30,000 lives. In fact, each 5 mph increase in the maximum speed limit resulted in a 4 percent increase in fatalities.
Many agree that the trend toward higher and higher speed limits on highways and interstates spells trouble for the safety of drivers. As more troubling data trickles in from states across the nation, perhaps there will be a call to slow down.
If you or a family member has been injured in an automobile accident, contact the personal injury law offices of Stoltze & Stoltze PLC for help. Our experienced and skilled attorneys have handled hundreds of motor vehicle accident injury claims for clients throughout Iowa getting them the compensation they need for medical bills, wage loss, pain and suffering, and other hardships. Contact us today.