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Cross-border personal injury: The impact of raised speed limits

A professor at the University of British Columbia researched the effect of increased speed limits on Canadian highways. The outcome of the research led to the British Columbia government lowering the speed limit on 570 kilometres of the 1,300-kilometre section of a road that had been raised by 10 km/h in 2014. The professor determined that the 10 km/h increase did not necessarily lead to more accidents, but it did lead to more severe injuries when accidents occurred. If American citizens were involved in any of those accidents, they could have a need for a cross-border personal injury claim.

According to the researcher, by increasing the speed limit, authorities aimed to improve road safety by limiting the disparity between fast and slow vehicles. They assumed that drivers who exceed the existing limit would continue driving at the same speed and slower drivers would drive a bit faster. Sadly, instead of improving safety, the opposite happened.

Based on the study, it was determined that the 10 km/hr increase in the speed limit brought about a rise of over 20% in the number of crash-related fatalities. The professor explained that drivers are inclined to make more driving errors when they travel at higher speeds. Although the number of accidents did not show a significant increase, it was the findings that more severe injuries resulted from the accidents that led to the concern and the subsequent lowering of the speed limit.

The researcher noted that, although it is often said that speed kills, it is actually driver error that kills. The impact on crash victims is even more severe if accidents occur to Americans travelling on this side of the border or British Columbia residents travelling in Washington state. Dealing with insurance and legal issues of both countries could be challenging, and having an experienced cross-border personal injury lawyer’s support and guidance could be invaluable.