Although Oklahoma residents may enjoy driving down roads with higher speed limits, these roadways could be prone to fatal accidents. According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, increasing maximum speed limits have led to at least an additional 33,000 deaths.
In 1973, Congress passed a measure called the National Maximum Speed Limit due to a concern over the shortage of fuel. States that did not abide by the measure, which set maximum speed limits to 55 mph, were not eligible to receive their portion of the federal highway funds. When fuel concerns began fading in 1987, Congress relaxed the measure, allowing states to raise their speed limits to 65 mph on certain roads. The measure was ultimately repealed in 1995. As a result some states have raised their maximum speed limits to 80 mph while Texas allows up to 85 mph speed limits on certain roads.
To estimate the number of fatalities that were caused by the increased speed limits, the annual number of fatalities were compared to what the expected number would have been if speed limits had not increased. Ultimately, each 5 mph uptick in the maximum speed limit resulted in an estimated 4 percent increase in fatalities.
Car accidents caused by excessive speeds can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. If a speeding driver causes a crash that leaves another person with life-altering injuries, that person could seek compensation for medical costs and any other damages by filing a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can represent the victim and assist with the negotiations with the insurance companies.