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Raising speed limits could raise rates

Posted: 9:23 AM, Feb 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-04 14:23:17Z

Dexter Ferrell travels from Ypsilanti to Lansing every other day. And, he wouldn't mind a higher speed limit on some of his route.

"I think it'll help a lot. People can get there a little bit quicker," he said.

But, that privilege could come with a price - higher insurance premiums.

"Oh my God. I hate to think about that because it's already kind of high," Ferrell said.

But, Pete Kuhnmuench, Executive Director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, told us that won't happen immediately.

"We can't carte blanche just increase rates, just because we have to document in fact there's going to be a correlation between those higher speeds and increase accidents," he explained.

Lt. Joseph Thomas of the Michigan State Police told us he's not expecting more accidents because about 85% of drivers already travel at that speed limit of 75 to 80 miles per hour and they'll stick with that range because it's comfortable.

He explained, "When you see greater accidents is because you have a disparity in speed. Say you have a situation where somebody's traveling 70, someone else is traveling 85, that's where you have the problems. But then, if you move the speed limit up to 80, you have everyone traveling in that same range."

And, Lt. Thomas is not expecting people to push that limit, meaning fewer speeding tickets.

But, he did acknowledge higher speeds plus distracted driving could cause problems.

"At 70 miles per hour, you're driving at approximately 105 feet per second. When you increase your speed, you're traveling that much faster, but you're reaction time stays the same," Lt. Thomas explained. "With your faster speed, you have less time to react."

One factor of many that could result in a crash.

Another piece in the package of bills - lawmakers were hoping to get rid of any driver's license points for a violation of 1 to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. But, the auto insurance industry fought to change that to 1 point for a 1 to 5 over violation and 2 points for any other speeding ticket.