Thursday, April 27, 2017

Michigan to raise speed limits on rural highways to 75; studies show increased speeds more deadly

About 600 miles of rural freeways in Michigan will soon see speed limits increased to 75 mph and 65 for semis and school buses, reports The Associated Press. New signs are expected to be installed on three major freeways next month. Also, 900 miles of roads will have limits increased from 55 to 65. 

"The higher speeds are required under a new law that Gov. Rick Snyder signed in January. It allows the new limits only if engineering and safety studies indicate it is OK and if 85 percent of traffic survey already is traveling at those speeds on the affected highways," reports AP. Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the state police, said "The 85th-percentile speed analysis is a 'national scientifically proven method to determine and establish safe speed limits.'"

Last year in Michigan traffic accidents 1,021 people were killed, the most since 2007 when there was 1,084, Robert Allen reports for Detroit Free Press. "Since dipping to a record low of 817 in 2009, the number of traffic fatalities in Michigan has increased, gradually, by about 15 percent during the six years that followed, according to data from Michigan State Police." In 2016, 963 people died in traffic fatalities in Michigan, 11th most in the U.S.

An April 2016 report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that nationally increasing speed limits led to 33,000 traffic deaths from 1993 to 2013, including 1,900 deaths in 2013. (Michigan State Police map: Traffic fatalities from 2010-14)

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