Fatalities rise after Kansas ups speed limit

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – Traffic-related fatalities and injuries in Kansas are up on roads with newly increased 75 mph speed limits.

The Kansas City Star reports numbers from the state’s transportation department show a 54 percent increase in highways deaths on those roads since the speed limit was raised. The number of crashes overall have been steady.

Injuries are up about 13 percent compared with the two years before the new speed limit went into effect in 2011.

Highways affected include I-135 north out of Wichita, and rural patches of I-35, I-70, U.S. 69 and I-470 near Topeka.

An Insurance Institute for Highway Safety spokesman says higher limits often lead to more accidents.

“Obviously, raising speed limits gets people to their destination faster, but it doesn’t come free of charge,” Russ Rader, the institute’s spokesperson, said. “There is always a cost, and the cost is safety.”

But state transportation officials say it’s too early to draw conclusions.

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