Increasing interstate speed limit a g...

Increasing interstate speed limit a good idea

Posted in the Chicago Forum

“GiveMe Liberty or GiveMe Death”

Since: Jun 13

Land of Liberty

#1 Jun 29, 2013
Sawyer: Increasing interstate speed limit a good idea

A bill to increase the interstate speed limit from 65 to 70 miles per hour sits on Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.

Personally, after the last few months of taking more out-of-state trips than normal, I hope the governor signs the law. With the current top speed limit set at 65 mph, Illinois is one of a handful of states that don’t have a top speed limit at 70 mph or higher. I can attest that when you have to slow down to 65 mph, after traveling 70 for several hundred miles, it seems like you’re crawling.

Of course, as numerous studies have shown, few of us actually drive the speed limit no matter what’s posted. That’s especially true on the rural interstate highways that are fairly wide open and built for speed. In fact, the average rural highway speed, according to many studies, is around 77 mph. According to some experts, that’s approximately the same as the average speed on stretches of the famed German autobahn, which has no speed limit.

It’s no secret that on most interstate highways if you drive the speed limit, you’re going to be passed repeatedly.

Our fascination with speed limits began in 1974, with the federally mandated maximum speed limit of 55 mph. It may be hard to find a law that was more universally ignored. The law was enacted after the 1973 oil crisis and was hailed as a way to save on gasoline consumption. That never happened in the numbers that the federal government proposed.

That’s mostly because the law was laughable. Many states adopted lower fines that made receiving a speeding ticket an inconvenience. Many law enforcement agencies hated the new law, and enforced it only when ticket quotas were imposed on officers. An entire industry of CB radios and radar detectors sprang up around the new federally mandated speed limit.

The limit was eventually increased and then abolished altogether. States are now free to set the speed limits they want.

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