Oregon’s Upcoming Speed Limit Hike Raises Questions About Speed Safety

In 2016, some of Oregon’s rural highways will have their speed limits raised to 65 miles per hour. This change is welcome to some, but may present dangers.

For years, countless people driving through some of Oregon's most isolated rural highways have been frustrated by the relatively slow speeds in comparison with most of the rest of the country. It can seem to take forever on these long, straight stretches of road when the speed limit is just 55 miles per hour. Those who just can't drive 55 may be happy to learn that the speed limit on some country highways is set to increase next year to match that of many highways across America.

Speed limit scheduled to increase in 2016

The Bulletin reports that starting March 1, 2016, speed limits on many rural highways in Central and Eastern Oregon that are currently set at 55 will be changed to 65 mph for passenger vehicles and 60 for commercial trucks. State law enforcement has said that many people on these highways have been driving at higher speed limits for years.

While many will rejoice at being allowed to legally get to their destinations faster, some authorities worry that raising the speed limit will result in more speeding-related fatalities on highways that are known for having such hazards as tight turns, narrow lanes and livestock or deer crossing the roads. The danger presented by speeding is of particular concern in Oregon. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 95 people were killed in accidents attributed to speeding in Oregon in 2013, and 103 and 105 lost their lives in the two years prior.

Just how bad is speeding?

In a survey conducted by the NHTSA, 91 percent of responders said they believe everyone should obey posted speed limit regulations; however, one in five admitted they speed to get to their destinations as fast as possible. Every year, about 10,000 people die across the country in speeding-related motor vehicle collisions, accounting for almost one third of all traffic deaths annually. Some more speeding facts include the following:

• More men than women admit to driving over the speed limit.

• 16 percent of drivers polled believe that speeding isn't hazardous for skilled drivers.

• More drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 said they were involved in one or more speeding-related accidents within the past five years than all other age groups.

• Younger, more inexperienced drivers go over the speed limit more often than drivers of any other age.

After the speed limit increase, authorities plan to track accident rates for the next several years to see if there will be any correlation between higher speed limits and the number of accidents in the state. Statistics from other states showed that crash fatalities increased when speed limits were raised starting about 20 years ago.

One truck driver said he believes that as a whole, drivers will be happy about the change in speed limit along Oregon's rural highways, especially when it comes to not being stuck behind a slow-moving truck for many miles. Regardless of your opinion on the upcoming speed limit change, you may be eligible for compensation if you are injured by a speeding or careless driver. It is important to contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible after an accident to discuss your options.