New Data Links Speed Limit Increase to More Road Deaths

April 14, 2016

Increasing speed limits in states across the country between 1993 and 2013 have led to 33,000 fatalities on U.S. roadways, according to new research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Excessive speed contributes to a tremendous proportion of all traffic fatalities, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). In 2014, there were 9,262 people who died in speeding-related crashes (28 percent of all fatalities).

New commentary by the GHSA notes that ncreasing speed limits has the potential to exacerbate this problem. We know that crashes are more deadly as speeds increase. In addition, most drivers treat maximum speeds as a minimum target. Past research has shown that as posted speed limits are raised, drivers will exceed these limits, and more fatal crashes will result. This new research reinforces earlier studies and provides clear evidence of the negative safety implications from increasing speed limits.

Rather than increase speed limits, the GHSA encourages states and communities to vigorously enforce existing speed limits through both traditional means, using police officers to detect violations, and by judicious use of speed cameras, which have been proven effective at reducing speeds and crashes.

GHSA publishes speed state maximum speed limits on its website at

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