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Rick Shapiro
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Increased Speed Limit May Help Congestion, But What About Safety?

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Virginia (VA) highway officials are considering increasing speed limits on certain sections of some VA interstates to 70 MPH. The logic behind this increase is that people driving faster will ease congestion. The question that begs to be asked is: how will this affect driver safety?

Anyone who has driven on a VA highway like Interstate 64 (I-64), I-264, I-664 or I-95 knows the frustration of getting stuck in a massive traffic jam and even when the roads are somewhat clear, the traffic flow is not ideal. The desire to speed creeps into the atmosphere which increases the risk a serious car wreck.

But is the answer to our congestion woes simply to increase the speed limit? Not necessarily. Interstate 81 in Botetourt County had the speed limit increased to 70 miles per hour. This is a stretch of highway that has had over 1,900 car wrecks in an 11-year period, according to an analysis conducted by the Roanoke Times.

If VA officials move forward with the speed limit increase, studies should be conducted every few months to analyze any potential spike in car crashes. If a spike is noticed, the officials should consider repealing the speed limit increase, even if it has reduced congestion. I understand the desire to get home from work a little faster, but no initiative should be placed over driver safety.

About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton personal injury law firm (VA-NC law offices ) edits the injury law blogs Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard, and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard as a pro bono service to consumers.