Effect of repeal of the national maximum speed limit law on occurrence of crashes, injury crashes, and fatal crashes on Utah highways

Accid Anal Prev. 2004 Mar;36(2):223-9. doi: 10.1016/s0001-4575(02)00151-3.


Speed limits were increased in Utah and other States after repeal of the national maximum speed limit law (NMSL) in 1995. This study analyzed effects of the increased speed limit on Utah highways on crash rates, fatality crash rates, and injury crash rates. Annual (1992-1999) rates of crashes, fatality crashes, and injury crashes for the following highway categories were calculated: urban Interstate segments (current speed limit 60-65 miles per hour (mph)); rural Interstate segments (current speed limit 70-75 mph); 55 mph rural non-Interstate highway segments; and high-speed non-Interstate highways (current speed limit 60-65 mph). Data were analyzed using autoregressive integrative moving average intervention time series analysis techniques. There were significant increases in total crash rates on urban (60-65 mph) Interstate segments (confounded by extensive ongoing highway construction on these highways), and in fatal crash rates on high-speed (60-65 mph) rural non-Interstate segments. The following variables were unaffected: total, fatality, and injury crash rates on rural Interstate segments; fatality and injury crash rates on urban Interstate segments; total and injury crash rates on high-speed non-Interstate segments. These results show an adverse effect on crash occurrence for subsets of crash types and highways, but do not show a major overall effect of NMSL repeal and increased speed limit on crash occurrence on Utah highways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic / statistics & numerical data*
  • Accidents, Traffic / trends
  • Automobile Driving / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Humans
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data
  • Utah / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology*