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“We drive roads and we have opinions as truck drivers about what might be the best speed to travel, but those are only opinions,” Hausladen said. “We have to rely on the experts to tell us.”
Speed still a concern
Speeds remain a safety concern. In 2012, its most recent year of data, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that illegal or unsafe speed was the largest contributing human factor for single-vehicle crashes at 21.6 percent. For multivehicle crashes, it was the fourth-largest contributing human factor.
State Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, who is chairman of the Senate’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee, opposed the amendment, and said he thinks accidents will worsen because of increased speed limits.
Buchen said that historically, one in four traffic deaths has been speed-related.
The Insurance Institute found that when speed limits are raised, the risk of crashes increases, said spokeswoman Kristin Nevels. Additionally, she said, people will often drive above the posted speed limits, which adds another risk.
“Unfortunately, when going at a higher speed, you’re more likely to have a fatality in that crash,” Nevels said, “because, basically, the laws of physics don’t change.”
Beena Raghavendran • 612-673-4649