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Interesting Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Article on Speed Limits & Fatality Rates in Arkansas

Published on Aug 5, 2011 at 10:15 pm in Car Wrecks.

On Monday, August 1, 2010, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ran an article entitled “Speed-limit rise not on state radar.” I thought this article provided some interesting data regarding the correlation between speed and traffic fatalities.
A 1996 study of the Arkansas Highway Commission found that when the speed limit was lowered from 75 mph to 55 mph in 1974, the fatality rate on Arkansas’ interstates decreased 47.6 percent. When speed limits in Arkansas were increased from 55 mph to 65 mph on rural highways in 1987, traffic fatalities increased 39.3 percent.
Since Arkansas raised its speed limits in 1996, there has been a 4.9 percent drop in fatalities, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. Some of this decrease must be attributed to increased seat belt usage and more cars with airbags along with better highway enforcement of DWI and DUI laws. Even with modern safety equipment and better law enforcement, nearly 18 percent (105 of 585) of all traffic fatalities in Arkansas in 2009 were speeding related. Carter Stein

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