In Georgia, the fastest you can legally drive is 70 mph, and that’s on the interstate. If you’re late to work, that might not feel fast enough, but consider this: Higher speed limits and serious injury or death go hand in hand.
States regained control over setting local speed limits in 1995. In 1974, Congress established a 55 mph speed limit aptly named the National Maximum Speed Law. This was partly in response to fuel shortages and rising oil prices, so it’s no surprise that it was later increased to 65 mph, then repealed entirely in 1995.
Since then, just nine states have stuck to the 65 mph guidelines, while all others set their limits at 70 mph or high. Texas’ State Highway 130 takes the crown of highest speed limit at 85 mph. But research shows that since the speed limit law was repealed and most states hiked up their limits, fatalities increased right alongside. So, this may not be a crown with having.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study noting that “such boosts have been responsible for nearly 37,000 additional highway fatalities over a 25-year period.” That’s almost 1,500 additional vehicle-related fatalities each year.
While the posted speed limit is meant to be just that, a limit, it’s not uncommon for drivers to go 5–10 mph or about those limits. And that need for speed is proving both fatal and harmful. Crash tests under 60 mph still show an incredible capacity to damage both the vehicle and the driver, including severe neck and leg injuries . As Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety put it, even “a small increase could make a big difference on the harm to a human body.”
You may be thinking of all the safety features that come standard with cars now, including airbags, which have some life-saving features. However, IIHS president Dr. David Harkey sums up their limitations by saying, “Higher speed limits cancel out the benefits of vehicle safety improvements like airbags and improved structural designs.”
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you no doubt already know this from firsthand experience. At GA Injury Advocates, we help people who’ve found themselves in this unfortunate incident. Please drive safely!