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Will Auto Accident Deaths Increase with Passing of Michigan Bill to Increase Speed Limits?

In April 2015, Representative Bradford Jacobsen introduced House Bill 4423, which seeks to increase speed limits and streamline other rules and regulations related to speed limits. If the bill passes, the new maximum speed limit would be the highest in the Midwest.

The bill proposes the following changes:

  • Speed limits of up to 80 mph for cars (70 mph for trucks) on rural freeways
  • Speed limit of 70 mph on urban freeways
  • Speed limit of 65 mph on “trunkline” highways
  • Speed limit of 60 mph on county roads
  • Speed limit of 55 mph on unpaved roads (except in Oakland and Wayne Counties, where the limit will be 45 mph)

The 25 mph speed limit on subdivision streets will remain the same.

Is Increasing the Legal Speed Limit a Good Idea?

With the yearly number of traffic injuries and fatalities in mind, is it really a good idea to allow people to drive faster? The question is certainly up for debate, but it has more than a few Michigan residents worried. Take, for example, our nation’s pervasive distracted driving problem. Every day, hundreds of thousands of drivers text, eat, place phone calls, and refer to GPS devices while they are driving. This unsafe behavior is responsible for a growing number of accidents, all of which are entirely preventable. If these accidents are occurring when people are driving 35, 45, and 55 mph, how much more devastating would it be if the driver crashed their vehicle at speeds of 80 mph (or higher, since distracted drivers are not likely to pay attention to their speed)?

Even AAA President Steve Wagner recently raised concerns about the legislation in a letter to newspaper editors. And while the Michigan Department of Transportation has taken no formal position on the bills, studies it has commissioned within the past few years have revealed that the risk of crashes and fatalities are greater at higher speeds.

Proponents of the legislation contend that cars and roadways are much safer now than they used to be, and that higher speeds will only be allowed on roadways MDOT and the MSP have deemed safe.

The bill is still making its way through the House of Representatives.

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a car crash, please contact Goodman Acker P.C. to speak with a Detroit car accident lawyer about your legal options. Call (248) 793-2010 for a free consultation.

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