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 June 14, 2003
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Higher Speed Limits Boost Death Risk for Women, Elderly Drivers
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Women and elderly drivers have a greater risk of driving-related death when the speed limit is increased to 70 mph or more. But there is no added risk for younger men, says a study in the June issue of the journal Economics Letters.

The study found that states that raised their speed limits didn't have an increase in the overall number of traffic-related deaths. But it found that the fatalities per 100,000 people increased 13 percent for elderly people and 10 percent for women, the Associated Press reports.

There was no increase for men under age 65. Reasons for the difference aren't offered in the study.

But co-author Thomas Dee, assistant economics professor at Swarthmore College, suggests that a higher speed limit may increase the disparity of driving speeds between drivers, resulting in a greater risk of accidents.

Congress abolished the national 55-mph speed limit in 1995. Since then, 29 states have raised their speed limits to at least 70 mph and several more states are considering whether to increase speed limits.

In the United States in 2001, nearly 28,000 men were killed in automobile crashes, compared with more than 13,000 women.


-- Robert Preidt

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