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Increasing speed limits: Is speeding really worth your life?

September 4, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten gives his take in the Detroit Free Press

Seth Godin’s daily blog is wonderful, and he is one of my favorite authors. One of Seth’s most recent blog posts really hit home, especially as I read it one day after I was quoted in the Detroit Free Press on the same issue, as legislators prepare to discuss increasing Michigan’s speed limits.

Seth’s blog is  “120 seconds (shipping vs. rushing)“. Seth discussed speeding in the car (and through life) and the minimal payback of arriving to your destination earlier, in exchange for putting your whole life on the line and enduring a whole lot of stress.

He said:

“If you have a ten-mile commute to work, the difference between pushing yourself to drive 40 miles an hour and driving safely at 35 works out to about two minutes. In the first scenario, you’re running yellow lights, passing bicyclists and rolling stop signs. In the second, you’re not only dramatically safer, but you’re also breathing.”

Ironically, it is almost the exact point I made in a recent article that appeared in the Detroit Free Press, “Michigan lawmakers investigate increasing some speed limits”:

“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 Michigan, a group of Senators led by Sen. Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) are working on legislation to increase speed limits to up to 80 miles an hour.

Seth’s point is a big reason why attorneys like myself – people who help the people who get hurt in speeding car accidents –  are so against increasing speed limits.

Michigan is not the only state speeding toward more accidents. Five state legislatures voted this year to raise speed limits on some divided highways in their states: Ohio, Utah, Maine, Illinois and New Hampshire.

Currently, about 36 states have speed limits of 70 mph or above on some roads, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Texas even set a whopping 85 mph limit on a 40-mile stretch of divided toll highway between Austin and San Antonio.

Given the epidemic of distracted driving that I see now nearly everyday, including cell phone calls and rampant texting, now might just be the worst time to be talking about raising speed limits. Our technology that makes our cars into missiles is getting ahead of the people who drive them.

Related information:

Steve Gursten interviewed on Fox 2 News on bill to increase speed limits in Michigan

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