On freeways in Michigan where the state increased speed limits to 75 mph, crashes rose to 4,264 in 2018 — the most in five years and up 17% from the annual average of 3,637 from 2014 to 2016, reports Bridge Magazine.
By comparison, crashes rose just 3% on all Michigan roadways over the same time span.
In 2017, a Michigan law went into effect that raised speed limits from 70 mph to 75 mph on 614 miles of rural freeways, notes the report.
State records indicate that average speeds have increased 2 mph and more drivers are traveling at over 80 mph. Meanwhile, not only collisions, but also injuries and fatalities increased at a higher rate on the freeways with the higher speed limit than on other Michigan roads in 2018.
Specifically, 589 of the crashes involved an injury and there were 14 crashes in which at least one person died, reports Bridge.
The state is waiting to assess the impact of the new speed limits until it has at least three years of crash data, according to the report.
Experts caution that faster speeds increase the likelihood of crashes and their severity because drivers have less time to react.
Speeding remains a significant roadway hazard across the nation. Nearly 800 people lose their lives in speed-related crashes every month. In 2018, more than 9,000 fatalities — 26% of all crash deaths — were speed-related.