Despite numerous studies reporting the negative impact of high speeds on roads and highways, many states have continued to raise posted speed limits.
Speed: A Major Factor in Traffic Deaths
In 1995, U.S. legislation repealed the national maximum speed limit of 55 mph on interstate highways. This action provided complete freedom for states to set their speed limits with disregard for crash tests and traffic studies proving that speed plays a major role in traffic safety. To date, 41 states have enacted policies and state laws that raise speed limits to 70 mph or higher.
In 2018, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety launched a multiphase study to investigate the impact of increased speed limits. Due to public safety concerns of higher speed limits and more injury claims by accident lawyers, vehicle crash tests were implemented to get accurate results of high-speed crashes. Crash tests were conducted at three different impact speeds: 40 mph, 50 mph, and 60 mph. In all crash tests, moving vehicles crashed into unmovable barriers.
Crash tests included vehicle models with good safety ratings and high marks for frontal crash protection. All vehicles included full-scale anthropomorphic crash test dummies behind the wheel. In all three tests, dummies suffered the following:
- Facial injuries from airbag deployment
- Head injuries from hitting the steering wheel
- Chest and back injuries from hitting the dashboard
- Crushed hands and wrists
- Damage to lower legs and feet
- Internal injuries from the solid impact
Accident lawyers commonly witness high-speed car crashes that result in severe injuries and even death. In a high-speed crash, seatbelts bruise or fracture ribs; airbags cause chemical burns and eye injuries; car components puncture internal organs, and heads get thrown into dashboards. During high-speed crashes, the brain is often jarred beyond its natural cushioning, causing a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Following a car crash, many injury victims have hidden injuries and delayed onset of pain. In some cases, injuries may not show up for days, even weeks after the crash. In other cases, injury victims go into shock because of inadequate blood flow and internal injuries that are not visible.
Car accident victims should always seek medical treatment as soon as possible and within 72 hours, even when they do not feel any pain. Delaying medical evaluation and treatment can result in serious consequences that may be life-threatening.