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Why Aren’t Speed Limit Laws Better at Preventing Springfield Crashes? 

When motorists in Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and surrounding areas travel too fast to be safe on the roads, this significantly increases the risk of a collision occurring. The driver, his passengers, other motorists, and pedestrians are all in danger when drivers travel too quickly. filthy-speed-limit-877270-m

A personal injury lawyer knows that speed limit laws are intended to prevent motorists from traveling at an unsafe speed. However, a recent article on FiveThirtyEight discusses how most speed limits are set. The unscientific process that is generally used helps to shed light on why speed limits aren’t really all that effective at stopping deadly motor vehicle accidents in the United States.

How are Speed Limit Laws Set in the U.S.?

The process generally used to set the speed limit laws for U.S. roads was adopted based on a 1964 study. The process involves traffic engineers looking at the behaviors of motorists on a particular road. The engineers monitor how fast people are generally going. They then set the speed limit at the 85th percentile speed (the speed at which 85 percent of motorists are traveling at or below).

When there is a new road being designed, the engineers will look at similar roadways in order to determine what the 85th percentile speed will be and the speed limit is thus set for the newly created road.

Speed limits set using this method are commonly called “rational speed limits.” They get this name because they are based on how fast people feel comfortable driving on a particular road. Those who believe this method of setting speed limits is a good one tend to argue that people aren’t going to obey the limits if the limits seem unreasonable. As a result, it makes sense to consider driver’s natural behavior when establishing the maximum speed that motorists can travel.

There are problems with this approach. One issue is that people tend to see the speed limit, assume that is a safe limit, and then go just a little bit faster. As a result, the speed many motorists go is actually a little bit faster than the speed most people would normally consider safe.

Higher limits also have significant consequences in terms of increasing the risk of lost life. When a pedestrian is hit by a car that is going at 23 MPH, there is a 90 percent chance that the pedestrian will recover from injuries and survive. When a pedestrian is struck by a 32 MPH vehicle, there is a 25 percent chance that death will occur.

Passengers and drivers are not immune to the risk of higher speed. Prior to 1995, there was a National Maximum Speed Limit law in place that capped how fast states could set speed limits on interstate highways. Before 1987, the maximum speed was 55 and between 1987 and the repeal of the law in 1995, the maximum speed was 65. After the law was repealed, states increased their speed limits… and increased the national death toll in traffic crashes by 3.2 percent. In just a decade, as many as 12,545 fatalities occurred because of the faster speed limits.

Drivers need to know that going too fast is very risky and should make sure they travel at a speed that is comfortable for them under the current road and weather conditions.

Missouri accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030. Serving  Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri & Oklahoma.

Winter Driving Safety Tips Save Springfield Lives

Bad weather conditions can endanger drivers in Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and surrounding areas. Motorists need to be prepared for sleet, ice, snow and fog as the weather gets colder. A personal injury lawyer knows these types of bad weather conditions can significantly increase the chances of a motor vehicle collision. However, drivers can take some steps to improve safety and reduce the chances they will be hurt or cause a crash that harms others. winter-in-poland-1445158-1-m

How to Stay Safe During Bad Winter Weather Driving

The Federal Highway Administration has taken a close look at how different types of adverse weather can affect the risk of motor vehicle related accidents. The FHA has assembled data on 10-year averages for motor vehicle crashes in various weather conditions. This data shows:

  • Wet pavement were a cause of 959,760 crashes. Around 17 percent of all motor vehicle collisions involve wet pavement.
  • Snow and sleet were a cause of 211,188 motor vehicle accidents. Around four percent of car accidents involved snow and sleet.
  • Ice on pavement was a cause of 154,580 motor vehicle accidents. Around three percent of car accidents involve ice on road pavement.
  • Snow and slushy pavement were a cause of 175,233 motor vehicle accidents. This accounts for around three percent of motor vehicle collisions.
  • Fog was a factor in around 31,395 car crashes. Around one percent of car accidents involve foggy conditions.

From 2002 to 2012, the 10-year average for motor vehicle crashes related to all different adverse weather conditions was 1,311,970. About 23 percent of motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. involve weather problems each year. This winter, you can follow some safe driving tips from AAA to try to reduce the chances that you will become a victim of one of these weather-related accidents. AAA tips include the following:

  • Check the weather report when you are going to drive somewhere. If the weather report reveals bad weather is coming, then you may want to stay home if your trip is non-essential. It is especially important to take a look at conditions before you take a trip that will involve going through remote areas. More isolated areas are less likely to have paved roads. You also may find yourself alone with no one to help you if you are in one of these isolated areas and something happens to your vehicle.
  • Slow down. You need to drive more slowly in the winter for a lot of reasons. It takes longer for you to stop, and you also need to go slower when accelerating, decelerating or turning so you do not skid out. Since all the tasks of driving take longer, you should reduce your speed accordingly.
  • Leave enough space to react to the car in front of you. You need to leave about an eight to 10 second following distance during the winter when weather is bad, even though usually a three to four second following distance is sufficient.

By following these safe winter driving tips, hopefully you can reduce the chances of getting hurt or killed in a winter weather crash.

Missouri accident victims should contact the offices of Tolbert Beadle and Musgrave LLC at 1-800-887-4030. Serving  Springfield, Columbia, Jefferson City, Joplin and throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri & Oklahoma.