A nationwide speed limit ≤65 miles per hour will save thousands of lives

Shahid Shafi, Larry Gentilello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: The objective of this study was to measure the impact of higher speed limits on traffic deaths several years after the repeal of the 55 miles per hour (mph) National Maximum Speed Limit (NMSL). Methods: Traffic fatality rates for 2003 were calculated for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and compared between states with speed limits ≤65 mph versus greater than 65 mph, adjusted for state differences in vehicle miles traveled and other potential confounding factors using negative binomial regression. Results: In 29 states with speed limits greater than 65 mph, there was a 13% increase in the risk of traffic fatalities (risk ratio 1.13, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.03 to 1.24, P = .009). An estimated 2,985 lives may be saved per year with a nationwide speed limit of 65 mph or less. Conclusions: Nationwide restriction of speed limits to 65 mph or less will save almost 3,000 lives every year.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-722
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Injury prevention
  • Motor vehicle fatalities
  • NMSL
  • Speed limits
  • Traffic fatalities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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