Proposal to raise speed limit to 75 mph raises safety concerns

Critics say proposal comes too soon after limit was raised two years ago

Ohio lawmakers have introduced a proposal in the state's transportation budget bill to raise the speed limit to 75 mph on some highways, according to the Columbus Dispatch. The proposal comes just two years after the state raised the maximum speed limit to 70 mph. While proponents of the increase say it is safe and will prove more convenient for drivers, safety advocates have raised concerns. They note that excessive speed is already a leading cause of car accidents and that it is still too soon to consider a second increase in the speed limit given that the effects of the first increase are not yet fully understood.

Increase to 75 mph

The proposal would raise from 70 mph to 75 mph the speed limit on the Ohio Turnpike and on some highways, altogether totaling 570 miles of roadway. Just two years ago, the state raised the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on nearly 1,000 miles of highway. While the increased speed limit in 2013 applied to all vehicles, the current proposal would only raise the speed limit for passenger vehicles weighing up to 8,000 pounds, according to the Youngstown Vindicator.

Advocates for increasing the speed limit say that since the limit was raised to 70 mph in 2013 that traffic accidents have not gone up. They also note that the increased speed limit would only apply to rural highways where there are few exits and little congestion.

Safety worries

Not everybody is pleased by the proposal, however. Traffic safety advocates and law enforcement agencies say that given that the last increase to the speed limit was just two years ago, it is far too early to say whether that initial increase has proven safe. Furthermore, critics point out that while it is true that accidents decreased on the Ohio Turnpike in the first year that the speed limit was raised to 70 mph, fatalities themselves actually went up by one percent. They also point out that more recent data is not yet available to judge what effect, if any, the 70 mph speed limit has had on traffic safety.

The Governors Highway Safety Association also pointed out that about a third of all traffic deaths are related to high speeds. Critics contend that if the speed limit is raised to 75 mph then more drivers will begin to think that pushing that speed limit to 80 or 85 mph is acceptable so long as they don't get ticketed. Environmental groups are also against the proposal because traveling at higher speeds consumes more gas.

Motor vehicle accidents

A car accident can be one of the most traumatic events a person can go through, especially if the accident results in a serious injury, which high-speed accidents often do. Victims of such accidents may soon find themselves struggling to keep up with medical bills or unable to return to work.

Contacting a personal injury attorney should be one of the first steps people take after being involved in a car accident. An experienced attorney will have the knowledge and expertise to help accident victims understand their legal options, including the possibility of compensation to help them cope with the financial challenges that arise after an accident.