Dangers of the Proposed Speed Limit Increase in Missouri
Posted in Safety on February 29, 2016
Speeding is extremely dangerous. A higher speed reduces the amount of time a driver has to react, and when auto accidents occur, speed-related incidents are almost always more injurious. Despite the evidence of danger, Missouri is currently thinking of raising the speed limits on certain roadways.
State representative Mike Kelley has introduced a bill that would increase the speed limits of certain highways from 70 mph to 75 mph. His reasoning is that surrounding states already have 75 mph speed limits, and boosting the speed limit in strategic locations would allow drivers to make smoother transitions on the roadways instead of acting as a “speed bump” on I-70. The legislation would not directly change the speed limit, but it would give the state the opportunity to make that decision.
Opponents believe that increasing the speed limit even by 5 mph will increase the rate of traffic incidents as well as their severity. Here are some of the dangers associated with speeding that concern the state and opponents:
- A higher speed limit further increases the margin of error. Few drivers drive exactly at the speed limit. Instead, they may travel as many as 15 miles under or over, particularly on the highway. For every increase in speed, the energy transference during a crash advances significantly. The added force of vehicles driving at high speeds may result in increased life-threatening injuries and fatalities.
- Increased speed limits affect the way drivers behave in special circumstances. Speed limit increases may also encourage drivers to use higher speeds through construction zones or in hazardous conditions. During a storm, sleet, or snow, maintaining a 75 mph speed or higher presents a hazard to everyone on or near the road.
- Speeding does not help the vehicle or the environment. It can reduce fuel efficiency and increase the rate at which emissions are released into the environment. At higher speeds, the rate of energy consumption increases with every additional mile per hour.
- Speeding is associated with other high-risk behaviors. In addition to offering its own risks, speeding is often associated with other dangerous driving behaviors, including drunk driving and distracted driving.
Staying Safe on High Speed Roadways
The bill will take some time to pass, and if it does, the state may still avoid changing the speed limit. However, any proposed adjustment is a good time to think about safe and proactive driving behaviors. Whether you are headed across town or 400 miles down I-70, here are some tips to stay secure:
- Minimize distractions. Missouri does not currently have laws against cellphone use for adults over the age of 21. Consider going hands-free with your cellphone and GPS to improve your ability to focus on the road.
- Avoid drifting too far above the speed limit. Use your cruise control on long straightaways, and avoid letting your speed constantly drift up or down as you drive. Develop a habit of checking your speed, particularly if you are engaged in a conversation or listening to the radio.
- Slow down as needed. Let the speed limit, traffic, your comfort level, and roadway hazards help you find the right speed. Move out of the left-hand lane if you are uncomfortable with higher speeds. Often, the best way to avoid an accident is to get in front of or far behind someone engaged in reckless activities, such as speeding or failing to maintain a lane.
Slight speeding rarely ever allows a driver to cut time out of a travel itinerary, but it does endanger lives. If you are injured in a speed-related accident, you may need help securing fair compensation. At Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger Norfleet, our Kansas City, MO personal injury attorneys understand the devastating effects speed can have in a car accident. Contact our team by calling (816) 832-4688.