Missouri is among several states that have introduced the idea of raising the posted speed limits on highways. These higher speed limits may help motorists reach their destinations a little quicker, but they will not thwart reckless driving like lawmakers think. In fact, higher speeds are likely to contribute to an increase in the number of accidents Missouri will see in the coming months.
In May 2015, Rep. Mike Kelley filed a bill to increase the speed limit on rural highways from the current 70 miles per hour to 75 miles per hour. He states that drivers become frustrated with the current posted limits because they feel they are too low, which causes drivers to speed, ignoring the posted limit. Lawmakers feel that if they raise the posted speed limits, motorists are more likely to drive at safer speeds and that this is the key to avoiding accidents in the future.
Despite the pleads from lawmakers that higher speeds will decrease reckless driving and accidents throughout the state, data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that increased speed limits lead to a higher volume of accident fatalities. That is because higher speeds limit how much time a driver has to stop or react — which increases the likelihood of an accident. Also, as the speed increases, the collision itself becomes more deadly, because the crash’s energy increases with speed.
Missouri’s Transportation Department engineer has already spoken publically about how increased speed limits will increase the danger on state highways. He cited how the state of Kansas saw an increase in traffic fatalities by 50 percent after raising their maximum speed to 75.
There are six other states currently assessing whether or not to raise the maximum speed limit. In 2014, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Illinois and Georgia all increased their speed limits. 2015 has Montana, Missouri, Nevada, Washington, Oregon and Wisconsin assessing if an increase is worth the risk. Texas law currently allows speeds as high as 85 miles per hour on some highways.
While it is true that the number of fatalities regarding no seatbelt or drunken driving have increased, the number of individuals that die each year from speed-related accidents have not decreased. Most motorists will automatically drive five to 10 miles over the posted speed limit, which means that if the limit is raised to 75mph, drivers could go as fast as 85mph on the highway — and accidents at those speeds could cause significant damage.
In 2013, Missouri saw over 300 fatalities in speed-related accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Regardless of what the posted speed limit is, when an accident occurs because of someone’s negligence — especially if they are driving faster than the posted speed limit — they are liable for the damages they cause. Contact The Law Offices of Kevin J. Roach, LLC. today regarding your car accident. We are here to help you exercise your right to compensation under Missouri law. Call 866-519-0085 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.