For those who might have missed it, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a rather grim report last week outlining just how deadly our nation's roads and highways have become. Indeed, this report indicated that almost 18,000 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents during the first half of 2016, a 10 percent increase from the same time last year and a continuation of a startling trend that began in 2015.
As to why the number of motor vehicle fatalities has spiked, NHTSA officials attribute it to the reality that there are more people driving owing to lower gas prices and improved economic conditions, and the longstanding problem of distracted driving.
In response to the report, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that several of its agencies -- the NHTSA, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration -- would be joining forces with the National Safety Council to launch a 30-year campaign designed to eliminate motor vehicle-related deaths altogether.
While the campaign, referred to as the Road to Zero, has pledged to help improve infrastructure and raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving, some experts are wondering if more attention perhaps needs to be paid to the issue of speeding.
Specifically, many of these experts are wondering if it's perhaps time to urge Congress to revisit the unpopular issue of instituting a national speed limit.
For those unfamiliar with this notion, there was a national speed limit (i.e., a cap) of 55 miles-per-hour on U.S. highways up until 1995 before Congress decided to let it lapse. Since that time, at least 38 states, including Georgia, have raised speed limits to 70 miles-per-hour with some even allowing motorists to travel as fast as 80 miles-per-hour.
Somewhat shockingly, estimates from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveal that 33,000 additional traffic fatalities can be attributed to the lifting of the national speed limit.
Indeed, experts say that this reality, coupled with the recent push for a potentially large number of trucks to be outfitted with electronic speed limiters preventing them from going faster than 60, 65 or 68 miles-per-hour, means that revisiting speed limits must be part of any initiative to make the roads and highways safer.
Here's hoping this proves to be the case …
If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one because of the reckless actions of another behind the wheel, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional who can explain the law, protect your rights and pursue justice.