Can variable speed limits reduce rear-end collisions?

On Behalf of | Nov 19, 2020 | Personal Injury |

Some motorists in California are well aware of the feeling of driving on the highway and seeing that all the brake lights in front of them seem to light up at the same time. The driver instinctively takes his or her foot off the gas pedal, but the distance between the cars closes much faster than the driver anticipated. The result is a near-rear-end accident. The culprit was a sudden speed reduction in a construction zone that caught drivers off guard.

A recent study showed that alerting drivers in advance of changing speed limits delivered several benefits. The research took place at the University of Missouri and concluded that variable speed limits reduced the chances of auto accidents occurring, decreased traffic congestion and supported work zone safety.

One associate professor with the university reached out to the Department of Transportation in Missouri to request the department’s participation in a test of variable advisory speed limits (VASL). The VASL testing took place on one of the most dangerous stretches of I-270 in Missouri.

The professor explains the simple intent of the study was to observe the ability of lower speed advisories to reduce the number of crashes on the highway. The professor explained that when drivers are unaware that travel has slowed in front of them, they may not have enough time to slow their vehicles. The VASL system displays a speed limit to drivers based on the slowed traffic in front of them. For example, drivers traveling at 55 miles per hour would receive advice to slow to 35 miles per hour if that is the speed traveled by the downstream traffic they will soon encounter.

The study revealed that VASL testing decreased rear-end accidents by 30% and eliminated approximately 20% of the problems involved with changing lanes.

Motor vehicle accidents can result in life-altering consequences. Many accident victims will miss time at work and require extended recovery time. Accident victims with questions regarding the compensation they deserve may benefit from directing these questions to a personal injury attorney.