3 comments to “Tracking the Cost in Lives of Higher Speed Limits”

  1. Richard Mamches

    I agree with the previous two comments for the most part regarding the IIHS and what I consider its velociphobia in opposition to speed limits above 55 and 65 mph.

    However, I see no real need for 80 and 85 mph speed limits posted in some states on rural Interstates. For example, the 85 mph speed limit on the Texas 130 toll road, in my opinion, needlessly dangerous, frightening away motorists and truckers needed for it to succeed, resulting in its bankruptcy. I believe if it had been posted from the start at a more reasonable 75 mph, Texas 130 would have been a profitable, money-making enterprise, or would have at least broken even financially.

    This to me is the one instance where the highest speed limit in the United States was, and is, bad for business as well as safety. What reasonable and prudent motorist or truck driver would pay a toll to risk their lives on this road?

    Why doesn’t the Texas Department of Transportation and Department of Public Safety release the death and injury statistics for Texas Highway 130 so we can see just how dangerous this 85 mph speed limit is?

  2. Mike

    IIHS study checklist:

    – Self-published
    – No peer review
    – Statistical obfuscation and nonsense
    – Not actually a new study
    – Supports a position that criminalizes as many reasonable motorists as possible
    – Protects multi-billion dollar insurance surcharge business of its corporate masters

    Looks like they covered all the bases.

  3. James C. Walker

    To the Staff of FAIRWARNING:

    If you want to do genuine watchdog journalism on this issue, you need to research the IIHS enough to understand they have massive conflicts of interest in keeping posted speed limits on highways set far below the safest levels that the super-majority of drivers find to be safe and comfortable. This is to facilitate more speed trap tickets to drivers driving very safely for the actual conditions, which then facilitates more unfair and unjustified insurance premium surcharges to some of the safest drivers on the roads, the ones with the lowest statistical risks to be in accidents.

    The IIHS is as far away from a neutral research organization on this issue as any group could possibly be. Their “reports” and “research” are pure public relations & advertising advocacy to support higher profits for their member insurance companies.

    The fatality rate in 1974 was 3.60 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled when the counter productive and largely ignored National Maximum Speed Limit of 55 mph was first proposed (to save fuel with the first Arab Oil Embargo). Today it is 1.16 per 100 M VMT or over two-thirds safer per mile traveled. We drive 3.2+ trillion miles a year in the US. If you are in a vehicle for about 15,000 miles a year, you will be in an auto accident involving a fatality of a pedestrian, cyclist, or vehicle occupant about once in every 5,700 years – roughly once since the start of Stonehenge on the Salisbury Plain in the UK.

    When the Interstates were first planned and built in the late 1950s and early 1960s, states were required to design for and post the speed limit in most rural areas for a minimum of 70 mph. The actual travel speeds of the slowest 85% of the drivers (85th percentile speed) were at or below about 70 mph in most areas. Today the slowest 85% of the drivers tend to be at or below 78-82 mph in most rural areas, indicating the safest limit to post in most rural areas would be 80 mph. It is perfectly logical and true that 80 mph in a modern car today is much safer than 70 mph in a 1958 Chevrolet Belair or a 1962 Plymouth Fury.

    There are many things the US could do to improve traffic safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicle occupants. Following the IIHS wishes to grow the profits of their member insurance companies by punishing safe drivers for “the dastardly crime of driving safely for the actual conditions” is NOT one of them.


    James C. Walker
    Life Member, National Motorists Association
    Board Member and Executive Director, National Motorists Association Foundation

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