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Higher speed limits a surprising factor in car accidents

As a careful driver, you take all the necessary safety precautions behind the wheel. You wear your seat belt, keep a watchful eye out for other drivers and keep to the posted speed limit. While this certainly lowers your chances of being involved in a wreck, it does not protect you from reckless drivers.

Speeding is responsible for thousands of deaths every year and likely many more instances of personal injury. Louisiana motorists who drive above the posted speed limit caused 1,900 deaths in 2013. This is approximately the same number of lives saved by front airbags, which some view as "cancelling out" those life-saving effects.

Increasing the speed limit makes roads more dangerous

Some people argue that increasing the speed limit to reflect the fastest drivers' speed will make the roads safer for everyone. However, this does not reflect the reality of what happens when maximum speed limits increase.

A study found that, starting in 1993, 33,000 people were killed as a result of increasing speed limits over the course of two decades. When speed limits go up, many drivers still exceed the new limit, topping their previous speeds.

Maximum speed limits are becoming more extreme

The study only examined the effect of rising speed limits between 1993 and 2013. At the time, only one state permitted speeds higher than 75 miles per hour. Since then, several other states raised their maximum speeds to 70 mph or more, with one state allowing drivers to go up to 85 mph in some areas.

This is a far cry from the federal 55 mph maximum in 1973. Although this move was over concerns about fuel availability, it resulted in decreased fatalities. When Congress eased the limit in 1987 and then mostly lifted it in 1995, speed-related fatalities increased once more.

You can hold a speeding driver responsible for your injuries

Avoiding an accident with a reckless, speeding driver can be impossible. As maximum speed limits continue to rise, more and more drivers will speed past them, putting you at risk. If a speed-related accident caused your injuries, they may be severe and require months or even years of medical care and treatment.

The financial costs of a personal injury are tremendous. Lost wages, medical bills and other costs quickly add up. Some families must even bear the burden of unexpected funeral bills as they grieve a lost loved one. Louisiana victims and surviving family members can seek compensation for these costs through the actions of either a personal injury or wrongful death suit. Although no amount of money can ever replace a person's life, resulting legal recourse is often essential for both emotional and physical recovery.

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