The Georgia Department of Transportation recently announced that it is considering raising the 55-mile per hour speed limit on I-285 to 65 miles per hour.
According to GDOT spokesperson Mark McKinnon, the agency is currently in the fact-gathering phase of the process and there is no date scheduled for making this change. However, if the speed limit increase is approved, the state will still have the ability to lower the speed limit as necessary – based on safety concerns such as weather conditions, road construction or accidents on the Atlanta interstate.
The proposed speed limit increase will need to be approved by the GDOT board of directors. The board will review data to determine if the change is safe for motorists.
Data on the Effects of Speed Limit Increases
Accident statistics clearly indicate that speed is a major contributor in car crashes on America’s roads – and the injuries that drivers sustain. AutoGuide.com reports that approximately one-third of the 10,000 car accident fatalities that occur every year can be attributed to speed.
However, research on the effects of higher speed limits is not so clear cut. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that there was “a 3.2 percent increase in road fatalities attributable to the raised speed limits on all road types in the United States.” Specifically, when the speed limit was raised on rural interstates, there was a 9.1 percent increase in traffic accident fatalities, and a 4 percent increase in accident deaths when speed limits were increased on urban highways.
On the other hand, the Wyoming Department of Transportation conducted a survey with states around the country. It found that car accidents had decreased when speed limits on interstates were raised, and the amount of accident fatalities were not affected by the change.
Why Speeding Can Be Risky
The jury may still be out on what the effects of raising the speed limit on I-285 will be, but it is clear that speed can contribute to accidents because drivers have less time to respond to what is going on around them – which increases the likelihood of rear-end accidents. Driving at higher speeds can also increase the chances of being seriously hurt in a car accident because the higher speed increases the impact.
If another driver is going too fast and that driver’s negligence causes you to be in an accident, contact a skilled Atlanta personal injury attorney to discuss available remedies.