Officials in Arkansas are reportedly nervous about raising the speed limit on highways to 75 mph, reports the Washington Post.
A new law recently took effect in the state that allows for speeds of up to 75 mph on specific highways, but Arkansas highway officials are putting on the brakes until more research is done on the state’s roadways. The law doesn’t automatically raise the limits on its own; instead, it gives the Department of Transportation permission to do so.
According to Department of Transportation spokesperson Danny Straessle, engineers are still evaluating traffic patterns and road designs to see whether the hike is feasible. It’s still possible that no part of the state’s highway system will be able to handle that level of speed, and the engineers’ research may result in the lowering of speed limits in some areas because of increased traffic counts. The spokesman also noted that people already regularly exceed the posted speed limits, and cars going over 85 mph on some of the state’s highways could have disastrous results.
It was the idea that people already speed that led to state representative Andy Mayberry voting against the hike when it was up for final vote. Despite his lack of support, the bill passed the state’s House and Senate, and Governor Asa Hutchinson let the bill become law without signing it earlier this year. His spokesman, J.R. Davis, said that the governor felt people regularly exceed posted speed limits by around 10 mph, so he did not feel that the limit should be raised.
State speed limits have been increasing countrywide over the years in general. Back in the 1970s, the country adopted a nationwide speed limit of 55 mph in response to an energy crisis, but this was repealed in the 1990s. Since then, 38 states have adopted speed limits of at least 70 mph. There are 18 states that have speed limits of at least 75 mph, while Washington, Montana and South Dakota have limits as high as 80 mph. In some areas of Texas, people can now drive at 85 mph.
Last year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released grim results from a study on the impact of higher state speed limits on the rate of traffic deaths. That report says that in 2013 alone, increased speed limits were responsible for an additional 1,900 traffic deaths (http://www.iihs.org/iihs/news/desktopnews/speed-limit-increases-cause-33-000-deaths-in-20-years). Researchers also found that for every 5 percent speed limit increase on average, traffic fatalities rose by 4 percent, and this spike in traffic deaths rose to 8 percent when they considered just freeways and interstates. This dangerous trend of raising speed limits appears to show no signs of slowing down, as many states have abandoned the previous 65mph standard over the last few years in favor of high caps.
Speeding is still a cause of many serious and fatal accidents on roads and highways across the country. If you’ve been injured by a speeding driver, speak to an experienced attorney such as the Car Accident Lawyer Denver CO locals.
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