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Every year, it is reported that more than 30,000 thousand lives are lost to accidents on the road. In 2010 alone, a total of 32,885 people died in fatal motor vehicle crashes. The research also unearthed a disturbing fact; that this deaths occurred in 30196 motor vehicle crashes which involved 44,715 motor vehicles. This figure is, as the research showed, that this was the fewest deaths and fatal accidents occurring on our roads since the establishment of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) in 19575.

According to the U.S Department of Transportation, the monetary cost borne by the society due to vehicle crashes amount to more than $ 200 billion annually. (Brown 15)

This is a clear indication that, now more than ever there is an urgency in addressing the major cause of the fatal accidents — speeding. Speeding amounts to 32% of the vehicle crash deaths.  According to a research conducted by the US Department of Transportation, in 2010 it was found out that speeding was a factor of about one-third of crash deaths since 2001.

Speed Limit

Speeding has been defined as driving too fast for conditions, racing, or exceeding the posted speed limit. Speeding is multifaceted threats since it not only reduces the amount of time in avoiding a crash but also makes the crash more fatal. To check speeding speed limits need be instituted.

Speed limit is one of the various ways of checking road accidents. It is among the oldest method that had been in use. In 1901, Connecticut set the speed limit within the city at 13 km/hr. No doubt, that speed has an influence on the number and fatality of road accidents. It is with this in mind that I need to assess the importance of speed limits (Lay 24).

The question of speed limits is in itself interconnected with other factors that contribute to road safety.  According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in the year 2010 there was recorded a total of 10,395 deaths.   A great number of fatalities occurred in speed-related crashes (Tignor 14).

There is also another angle to this discussion. In Montana, when the Supreme Court ruled against the Reasonable Prudent speed limit, the unexpected happened – fatal road accidents reduced. In fact, they hit a record low. Later on when this legislation was reinstated, the number of fatal road accidents increased (Dornsife). This makes one ask whether the absences of speed limits actually affect the way people drive? The answer is yes. People contribute on the relationship between safety and speed (Diane 1994).

For example, in 1998, the Federal Highway Administration found out that the type of road is also a determining factor.  The research stated that raising the speed limit in places where people are already driving slowly, does not as a consequence affect road safety at all.

A research published by the Transportation Research Bureau in 2001 showed that: An individual is in actual sense safer while traveling at the same speed as the rest of the traffic.  The research showed that there is a higher risk from speed-related accidents (Brown 25).


Speed limit is fundamental in the fight against the increased fatal motor vehicle crashes. More so since the relationship between variations in road safety and speed is quite strong.  For example, it has been found that when speeds are reduced by 10%, it may be expected that the road accidents will decline by as much as 38%. This is a remarkable decline to fatal road crashes. This is a higher figure as compared to when drinking and driving is 10%, the number of fatalities is expected to decline by 3%. (Tignor 34)

Therefore it may be asserted that that speeding has a direct relationship to the number of motor vehicle crashes and their fatality. This relationship is very strong.


It is no doubt therefore that speed limits should be instituted and enforced. But we need to remember that most, importantly speed limits are meant for our safety and other road users. But it calls upon us to have discipline and exercise a lot of restrain. The next time you are driving, as you put your seat belt on, consider your safety and that of other road users. Even the most experienced of drivers is known to be involved in a speed related accident. Facts from different researches show this; while common sense dictates that the more you speed, the lees the control of the vehicle and the higher the chances of crashing (fatally).

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