Sometimes the smallest change can have the greatest impact. Recent research published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that if speed limits were lowered by as little as 5 mph, it could significantly decrease speeding overall, and potentially decrease the likelihood of a car accident.
Slow and steady increases safety
Last year, IIHS conducted a study in Boston, a city known for aggressive driving. City officials decreased the in-city speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph. After this new limit went into effect, the number of cars driving faster than 35 mph within the city dropped by almost 33 percent.
As this change went into effect rather recently, data has not yet been gathered to show if this lower speed limit has led to a corresponding decrease in traffic accidents. However, past research has shown that the slower a car is moving, the more time a driver has to react to possible dangers in the road, such as a pedestrian crossing the street.
David Harkey, the president of the IIHS, is in favor of lowering speed limits. “Even on lower speed roads, speeding can have deadly consequences, especially for pedestrians and bicyclists. Some cities are lowering speed limits to reduce the risks for these vulnerable road users, who are increasingly dying in crashes.”
Benefits of lower speed limits
Pedestrian accidents have been steadily rising since 2009. That’s why lawmakers are hoping decreasing the speed will help reduce, if not the risk of an accident, then at least the severity. According to research done by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, if a pedestrian is involved in an accident with a car traveling 25 mph, their chances of serious injury is 25 percent. If the car is travelling at 35 pm, that risk doubles to 50 percent. That is the significant difference a few mph can make.
Seattle pedestrian accident lawyers have seen the tremendous difference 5 mph can make. Decreasing the speed limit would give drivers more time to notice if a pedestrian is in the road, and give that driver more time to stop the car.
If you or a loved one was injured in a pedestrian accident, contact Nelson, Langer, Engle PLLC. Our lawyers have been helping injured pedestrians in the Puget Sound area for decades. We can help you as well.