IIHS: Lowering Posted Speed Limits Reduces Odds of Speeding
ATLANTA, GA. – August 28, 2018 (autoconnectedcar.com) A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) indicates that lowering posted speed limits by 5 mph can result in a reduction of speeding occurrences.*
On August 28, at the Governors Highway Safety Association 2018 Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, IIHS presented the findings from a recent speed limit study. Beginning in January 2017, unless otherwise posted, the City of Boston lowered its default speed limits on all streets from 30 mph to 25 mph. The city alerted the public to the change leading up to its enforcement via traditional advertisements and social media posts.
Compared to prior Boston data and data from Providence, Rhode Island (a control site that did not change its speed limits), drivers in Boston were nearly 30 percent less likely to exceed posted speed limits by 10 mph or more when the limit changed from 30 mph to 25 mph. In addition, after the speed limit change, drivers in Boston were 8.5 percent less likely to exceed the speed limit by 5 mph and 2.9 percent less likely to exceed the speed limit at all.
These findings suggest that drivers are less likely to speed when posted speed limits are lower. The next phase of the study will determine whether a reduction in speeding leads to a reduction in traffic accidents and traffic-related deaths. It is known already, however, that speeding is a factor in numerous accidents and fatalities in the United States every year. Speeding-related accidents account for about 25 percent of all crash deaths in the United States, a rate that has sustained for more than three decades.
“The new IIHS study should encourage officials to reexamine current speed limits to find opportunities to more effectively lower overall speeds and reduce speeding-related traffic deaths,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of GHSA. “Whatever the speed limit, enforcement is key and especially critical on higher speed roadways.”
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