WASHINGTON — Rural highway traffic deaths rose 19% overall in states that raised speed limits to 65 m.p.h. in 1987, a government report says.
Rural interstate fatalities in the 38 states with the higher limit rose to 2,191 in 1987 from 1,839 in 1986, the Transportation Department said in a report to Congress that was released Friday.
In the 10 states maintaining 55-m.p.h. limits, the fatalities rose 7%, to 313 from 292. Alaska and Delaware do not have rural interstate highways.
A disproportionate 64% of the increase in deaths occurred in six states--California, Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas, the study said. It was prepared by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.