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Researchers dig deeper to find out exactly ‘why speed kills’

New Hampshire auto accident attorneyA study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an insurance-industry funded organization that showed why speed kills was based on details yielded by rounds of scrutiny and testing, according to a MotorTrend story. Findings of the study were based on examining the impact of changes made to the maximum posted speed limit in every state from 1993-2017.

Nearly 37,000 more people died on highways in that quarter century that was studied after speed limits rose than would have been the case had 55 mph been maintained nationwide, the study showed. The 55-mph speed limit ceased being the nationwide standard in 1995.

Proven dangers of excessive speeding

Every year, the organization does dozens of crash-tests of vehicles at a variety of velocities. The study went “well beyond” government regulatory standards.

The organization’s researchers use high-speed cameras that shoot 500 frames per second to pinpoint when the success or failure of safety systems in a vehicle occurred.

Each 5-mph increase in speed increases the distance a vehicle travels from the moment a driver detects an emergency to the time a driver reacts. It increases the distance needed to stop a vehicle once the driver starts to break.

The study concludes that highway fatalities would have been lower in the 25-year study period had speed limits stayed the same.

Since the national speed limit of 55 mph was abolished in 1995, 41 states have increased highway speed limits to least 70 mph, seven states have upped the limit to 80 mph and other speed-limit increases are being considered.

Among findings in the study was that an additional 36,760 people were killed on highways in that 25-year period than would have been expected if speed limits had stayed at 55 mph nationwide.

Are the increased number of SUVs on the road a factor in why speed kills?

A slate.com story in November said that among new vehicle sales, light trucks and SUVs now outsell cars by a two-to-one margin. Ford said last year it would stop manufacturing most sedans — aside from Mustangs and the compact Focus — in favor of SUVs.

An official who led the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study said that newer-model SUVs have some of the lowest fatal crash involvement rates.

"We have not seen evidence that they get into more crashes than other vehicle types,” said Charles Farmer, vice president for research and statistical services for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

It isn’t as though raising a highway speed limit will help by encouraging most drivers to maintain that speed. Farmer said raising speed limits results in higher travel speeds and more vehicles exceeding the new limit.

Contact New Hampshire lawyers at Burns, Bryant, Cox, Rockefeller & Durkin P.A. today for help with car accidents related to speeding, and other accidents and personal injury cases.

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