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Increasing speed limits can lead to more crashes and deaths, AAA finds

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Elevating velocity limits results in extra frequent automotive crashes, whereas decreasing them results in fewer crashes, a brand new evaluation by AAA concludes. It’s the sort of conclusion that appears apparent on the floor however nonetheless must be highlighted given how many states seem convinced that raising speed limits can save drivers time, when all it actually does is endanger the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.

The report is the most recent in a rising physique of proof that finds that altering velocity limits can have a big effect on highway security within the US. AAA analyzed a dozen roadways of various varieties within the US wherein half raised their velocity limits whereas the opposite half lowered the restrict. The group then did a before-and-after evaluation to see what sort of affect the altered velocity limits had on visitors security in addition to commute occasions.

The report is the most recent in a rising physique of proof that finds that altering velocity limits can have a big effect on highway security

Two of the three highways that elevated velocity limits skilled elevated numbers of crashes, accidents, or deaths. In the meantime, commute occasions remained “comparable” to the place they had been earlier than the bounds had been raised — dashing the expectation that growing speeds would result in sooner journeys for drivers. A lot of different highway varieties that raised velocity limits didn’t see a corresponding improve in crashes, accidents, or deaths, main AAA to conclude that extra analysis is required.

Reducing velocity limits additionally had a marginal affect on commute occasions, which may assist sprint arguments that altering limits come on the expense of journey time and driver comfort.

Dashing is a essential think about visitors crashes within the US. Dashing-related fatalities lately reached a 14-year excessive, making up virtually one-third of all visitors deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That is amid an ongoing “disaster” in highway deaths within the US, with visitors fatalities peaking in 2021.

AAA recommends that states apply a “holistic strategy” to the query of elevating or decreasing velocity limits, together with the kind of highway, surrounding land use, and historic crash information.

“The motion in statehouses to lift velocity limits is occurring throughout the nation in a minimum of eight states this yr,” mentioned Jennifer Ryan, director of state relations for AAA. “However the advantages are overrated, and the dangers are understated. Growing velocity limits doesn’t at all times yield the optimistic outcomes envisioned by visitors planners.”

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