Speed demons are revving up as a group of Michigan Senators led by Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) are working on legislation to increase speed limits. Most reports seem to suggest the new bill will increase some speed limits to 80 miles an hour.
But is getting to your destination a few minutes faster worth the increase in deaths and more serious injuries that will certainly occur from car accidents at greater speeds? And for those who do speed, does an 80 mph speed limit mean that tens of thousands of drivers will be driving at 90 mph, just as they drive the 10 mph over the posted speed limits now?
I recently spoke with Reporter Kathleen Gray of the Detroit Free Press on the upcoming dangerous legislation.
I told Kathleen that the expression “speed kills” is as true as ever. But there is a new ingredient being thrown into the safety pot – the increasing prevalence of distracted driving. This includes the drivers we see every day on our roads texting, making cell phone calls, using in-car entertainment systems and navigation systems, and other in-car distractions that take time and attention away from the road.
As a lawyer who helps people injured in car accidents, the texting and distracted driving component that I increasingly see has been a huge cause of completely preventable car accidents. In fact, considering the spike in distracted driving and the car accidents that it causes, this is the absolute worst time to be considering increasing our speed limits in Michigan:
“We are increasing speed limits at the exact same time that there is more distraction in our car than ever. When you increase speed, two things happen: Your safety cushion of being able to react quickly disappears, and the collision that ensues is going to be more severe.”
In one of my recent blog posts, Speed kills – Why increasing Michigan’s speed limit law is a bad idea, I discussed the physics behind speeding and car accident deaths, based on studies from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
These studies found an exponential increase in risk of a car driver being killed in a car accident as the vehicle increases in speed.
Think about that next time you feel the need for speed.