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Higher highway speed limits could mean more fatalities

Like lots of motorists anywhere, many California drivers may find themselves speeding over highway limits either intentionally or due to not paying attention to speedometers. They may not realize that the faster they go, the more likely they'll be involved in a fatal car accident.

In the 1970s and 1980s amid concerns for fuel shortages, Congress set the speed limit at 55 mph on the nation's highways. Not only did fuel consumption drop, but highway fatalities involving high-speed drivers also dropped.

Since Congress removed the mandated 55 mph speed limit and allowed states to set the maximum speed limit, car accident fatalities are on the increase. Between 1993 and 2013, 33,000 people in 41 states died due to speed limit increases, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This comes at a time when the overall accident rate is decreasing. In 2013, the group said that 1,900 motorists died needlessly.

Six states allow speeds up to 80 mph on freeways, while Texas allows motorists to go 85 mph on some highways. The institute is concerned because no matter what the speed limit is, some motorists will always go over it. The group wants lawmakers to keep the fatality statistics in mind before they decide to raise speed limits.

Car accidents that involve speeding can translate into serious personal injury or even death. An individual who suffers injuries caused by a negligent driver's speeding may be eligible for a personal injury claim. This can include compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering for their personal injuries.

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