WPR News
12:08 pm
Wed November 26, 2003

Higher Speed Limits Cause Traffic Deaths

Cheyenne, WY – A new report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says higher speed limits on interstates lead to more accident deaths. But Wyoming Transportation Department spokesman Bruce Burrows says the agency needs to know more about those findings before deciding that faster speeds do in fact lead to more deadly accidents. According to the most recent U-S Department of Transportation records for Wyoming, 2.16 deaths occurred per 100 million vehicle miles driven on the state's roads. The national average is 1.51. The institute cites New Zealand researchers, who tracked the effects in the 23 states that increased their rural interstate speed limits to 70 or 75 miles per hour. The researchers discovered that states that raised their speed limit to 70 miles an hour saw a 35 percent increase in highway fatalities. And states like Wyoming that raised their speed limit to 75 miles an hour say a 38 percent increase in deaths.