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National Speed Limits


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#1 locally pwned

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 05:05 PM

Back in the 70's the national speed limit was brought down to 55 in an effort to combat high gas prices.

I am curious what people think of reducing speed limits again; not only for the current gas crunch but also for a reduction in traffic fatalities.

Oregon has the lowest speed limit in the nation, I believe: 65 mph (105 km/h). This speed is only allowed on certain main highways (such as parts of I5, I84, and 205). Everywhere else is 55 mph (89 km/h) (recently a section of I84 was raised to 60 mph (97 km/h)).

5-10 mph doesn't seem like a lot of difference, but it is. It's in the math:

KE = ½mv²

Kenetic Energy = one-half the mass of the car multiplied by the car's velocity squared. So, as you increase velocity, there is exponential growth in the amount of energy in a possible wreck.


There are many two-lane highways - without meridians - throughout the US on which the speed limit is 75 mph. Granted there are a lot of long, empty regions through which any traveler would like to pass through quickly; but remember, many traffic fatalities occur on such roads.

One might argue that a head-on collision at 55 mph can be deadly as well; this is true. However, the variables and the odds for such an accident generally increase with speed.

My personal feeling is that major two-lane highways ought to have concrete meridians and a speed limit of 65 mph. Expensive and excessive, one might say, but the number of saved lives would be worth it.
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

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#2 CTH_Tom

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 05:32 PM

What good is there to setting any kind of speed limit if no one obeys it. Around here the only time it's obeyed by most drivers is when there's a highway patrol car in sight.
But I have noticed a decrease in rush hour traffic since gas has gone over the $4/gal mark. More people turning to public transportation and car pooling would be my guess.

Edited by CTH_Tom, 03 June 2008 - 05:32 PM.

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#3 yano

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Posted 03 June 2008 - 09:31 PM

I agree, it wouldn't help as much. It's like putting a fence around something valuable at night. It only keeps out the honest people and the dumb criminals.

#4 locally pwned

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Posted 04 June 2008 - 06:57 PM

What good is there to setting any kind of speed limit if no one obeys it.


Good point. People tend to push the speed limits. However, the higher the limit is set the higher the end result will be. At 65 people - on average - rarely push past 75, ect. After all, 20+ over the speed limit makes for a pretty big ticket; saving a few minutes won't seem so important.

As far as enforcement goes, besides normal patrols, random photo radar might be an option. Want to exceed the limit? Smile for the camera! You'll get your 'picture' in a few weeks in the mail. The prints are expensive!
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#5 Garric

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 09:45 AM

There are many two-lane highways - without meridians - throughout the US on which the speed limit is 75 mph. Granted there are a lot of long, empty regions through which any traveler would like to pass through quickly; but remember, many traffic fatalities occur on such roads.

One might argue that a head-on collision at 55 mph can be deadly as well; this is true. However, the variables and the odds for such an accident generally increase with speed.

My personal feeling is that major two-lane highways ought to have concrete meridians and a speed limit of 65 mph. Expensive and excessive, one might say, but the number of saved lives would be worth it.


I would actually beg to differ. It is not the fast paced multi-lane highways where the majority of traffic accidents occur. Most traffic accidents occur at busy intersections. I feel way more comfortable on the Thruway then i do driving in the city.
Just because you are going faster doesn't mean that the number of possible traffic accidents incurred will increase. There are several other factors to take into consideration, such as how wide the lanes are and how smooth the road is. Most of the bigger highways are so well built that the driving is easy as pie, you hardly ever even have to turn the wheel.

#6 locally pwned

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 02:44 PM

There are many two-lane highways - without meridians - throughout the US on which the speed limit is 75 mph. Granted there are a lot of long, empty regions through which any traveler would like to pass through quickly; but remember, many traffic fatalities occur on such roads.

One might argue that a head-on collision at 55 mph can be deadly as well; this is true. However, the variables and the odds for such an accident generally increase with speed.

My personal feeling is that major two-lane highways ought to have concrete meridians and a speed limit of 65 mph. Expensive and excessive, one might say, but the number of saved lives would be worth it.


I would actually beg to differ. It is not the fast paced multi-lane highways where the majority of traffic accidents occur. Most traffic accidents occur at busy intersections. I feel way more comfortable on the Thruway then i do driving in the city.
Just because you are going faster doesn't mean that the number of possible traffic accidents incurred will increase. There are several other factors to take into consideration, such as how wide the lanes are and how smooth the road is. Most of the bigger highways are so well built that the driving is easy as pie, you hardly ever even have to turn the wheel.


True, there are a larger number of accidents in-town. There are more fatal accidents on highways. While people can certainly be seriously hurt in congested intersections, the odds for fatalities go up when high speed is involved.

One particularly bad situation is a combination of what we are discussing: uncontrolled intersections where small roads cross highways. There was one near where I grew up; people died there on many occasions.
"The whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking." - Albert Einstein

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

"If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the family anatidae on our hands." - Douglas Adams

#7 Pandy

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Posted 05 June 2008 - 05:03 PM

Here in NY State the speed limit on Interstates is 65. I think that is a bit slow. I would hate if they lowered it further.

I recently had an accident at an intersection. Was bad enough as it was and we neither of us was going very fast. So I am a bit on the fence about a speed limit reduction. I think most people if they want to go fast they do. Whether they get a radar detector or just go too fast, they still will speed if they are in a hurry or if they want to.

I use the Interstate frequently and often wish I could go faster. But when I think of having an accident at that speed, it scares me. I wish I didn't even have to drive anymore.

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#8 CTH_Tom

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 12:20 AM

I wish I didn't even have to drive anymore.

Here you go Pandy-

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