A new report released by a state government task force finds traffic deaths rise when the speed limit goes up. The report is aimed at lawmakers who are considering raising the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on Iowa’s Interstates. Tom Welch of the Iowa D-O-T’s Traffic and Safety Office says the study analyzed traffic fatalities in neighboring states where the speed limit’s above 65.Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota had a 10-point-seven percent increase in highway fatalities, while traffic deaths in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin, where the speed limit’s 65, were down one percent from 1992 to ’99.Welch says the traffic death rate on rural stretches of interstate jumped dramatically in states which raised the speed limit.Accident rates on rural Interstate miles jumped 38 percent in Minnesota; 39 percent in Missouri; 68 percent in Nebraska; and seven percent in South Dakota. Governor Tom Vilsack is opposed to a speed limit hike, and his Department of Transportation officials are making it clear they’re with their boss on the issue.
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