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Us Speeding Deaths Up As Speed Limits Rise

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Speeding-related deaths have gone up gradually on many major U.S. roads since Congress abolished the mandatory 55 mph (88.5 kph) per hour speed limit in 1995, an analysis of federal safety data showed on Wednesday.

A report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed about a third of all traffic deaths were related to speeding between 1983 and 2002, the last year figures were analyzed for speeding.

Nearly half of all alcohol or drug impaired drivers exceeded the speed limit before fatal crashes, compared with 14 percent for sober drivers, the report said.

There were 13,713 speeding-related deaths in 2002, the highest number since 1991 when the figure stood at 13,915.

Speeding-related fatalities have gradually increased on roads with speed limits of 65 mph (104.6 kph) and above while fatalities have been stable on roads with restrictions of 50 mph or lower. Congress abolished the 55 mph mandatory maximum on many major roads in 1995.

Male drivers are more likely than females to be in a speeding-related crash, which are most likely to occur on a weekend, the report said. Nearly half of all speeding fatalities occurred on a curve where a vehicle ran off the road.

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