An auto safety group warned Monday that states that raised highway speed limits saw a clear jump in highway deaths. Scott Falb of the Iowa Department of Transportation says the figures he works with every day support that conclusion. Falb says as speed increases, the risk of damage and death increases exponentially, far more than a one-to-one ratio. Even though Iowa hasn’t changed its speed limit in many years, the state’s transportation department has tracked changes in the region after speed limits went up in South Dakota, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri and Minnesota. A study of five years before and five after the changes finds Iowa and Illinois (which did not raise the speeds) with fewer fatalities, but surrounding states that raised limits saw fatalities go up by seven percent in South Dakota to as much as 14 percent in Kansas. Falb says unfortunately “real-life” statistics show the faster cars are traveling when they collide, the worse the injuries and the higher the number of fatalities. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a study of what’s happened since Congress repealed a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour on interstate highways in 1995. The group found states that raised their limits highest, to 70 miles an hour, saw the biggest jump in fatalities.
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