Why Speed Limits Are Wrong In USA


Speed limits in the USA vary depending on the jurisdiction. In the USA there are different speed limits for different cities. In 2019 almost ten thousand (The exact number is probably 9478) Americans died from speeding, 26 percent of all traffic fatalities of the year. Data from National Highway Traffic Safety predicts in t USA every year speed-related crashes cost more than 40 billion dollars. Also, victims’ families have to bear immeasurable emotional issues throughout their whole life. Amy Cohen(Co-Founder of Families For safe streets) lost her 12-year son in a fatal road accident said ‘I started speaking out, it was horrific to bear your child. And I would not want this to happen to anyone else.’.In this article, we tried to find out why speed limits are wrong in USA in 2022.

Factors Of Speed Limits In USA

Speed limits in the USA are set by the Government based on their analysis of traffic. The limits vary from state to state depending upon many factors but most of them are set based on the common method known as the 85th percentile. The 85th percentile rule is used by traffic engineers to give them starting points to set speed limits. Traffic engineers measure the 85% speed of the cars on a particular road for a couple of days and set the speed limit.

Effect of Speed Limit

Studies have shown the correlation between how much traffic is on the road and how high the speed limits are set. Increasing five miles hour speed limit leads to an 8.5% of freeway fatalities and a 2.8% increase on other roads. Also believed that increasing of speed limit leads to almost 37000 death from 1993 to 2017.

Politics in Speed Limit

Most states in the US don’t follow the speed limit rules set by traffic experts. In a 2012 report, Federal Highway Administration(FHA) discovered that the speed limit is often set much lower than suggested by traffic engineers. Conflicting legislation plays a big role in disobeying the suggested speed limit. In Florida state legislators already established maximum speed limits for varying roads but the Florida Department of Transportation support the 85th percentile rule. Sometimes political pressure influences the speed limit. In some areas, speed limits are set according to local people’s assumption of speed.

Question Mark On 85 the Percentile

Currently, the effectiveness of the 85th percentile rule comes under the scanner. Recent studies suggested that there is no strong evidence that setting the speed limit according to the 85th percentile rule leads to a low crash rate. A big problem in the 85th percentile rules the other 15 percent of the driver. They drive according to their need disobeying the limit which increases the chances of crashes.

Speed Limit Is Myth

Some traffic experts don’t believe that speed limits can decrease road accidents rate. An extensive study by Federal Highway Administration clearly shows that there is little to no effect on the actual speeds people drive based on the number on the sign. The safety of a road doesn’t depend on the speed limit, it depends on how the road is built.

Design Of Road

The study shows that drivers don’t drive according to the speed limit, they drive depending on the current environment, and weather. They intend to drive at a speed at which they feel safe and comfortable according to the design of the road, the type of vehicle they are driving, the ongoing development around the road and also what going on the road at that particular moment of driving. A better redesign of the roads could decrease the crash.


The future of traffic depends on how much the administrator changes according to need.

The speed limit should be set based on the location, surroundings, and congestion on that road. We should not rely on the decades-old of unproven theory to set the limit.

Also, the design of a road plays a big factor in the speed limit. A better design could improve road safety. Long straight flat roads increase the speed. Government should build more curved road that forces people to slow down. Speed bumps are also a good solution to control the speed limit.

Improperly maintained vehicles, and old cars cause more speed-related car crashes. In some cases, drivers try to accelerate cars with incompetent driving skills.

We can save our lives by safe driving.No government policy can stop road accidents if we don’t drive safely.

More: Snacking in America: Americans are eating more snacks than ever

Leave a Comment