Speed Limit

Topics: Speed limit, National Maximum Speed Law, Speed limits in the United States Pages: 7 (2461 words) Published: October 8, 1999
Should Highway Speed Limits Be Increased?

Should highway speed limits be increased? Should we strike down every sign that the government posts and uses to regulate the speed limit on the thousands of highways around the country? Should we trust the driving ability of each and every person to drive within a reasonably safe speed? The response that most people lean toward is one of negativity. People automatically assume that the speeds presently posted on our highways are there only for our own protection.

People do not believe that the government is knowingly implementing speed limits that are below a safe speed for a given roadway. It is true that the government claims to set speed limits that are for the public well being. As the United States Department of Transportation puts it, "Speed limits are appropriate speeds based on the traffic of an area, road conditions, weather, and the lighting" (The Star Ledger). But the fact of the matter is that their arguments have no factual basis. Suppose the government is really setting speed limits that are safe. If this were true, speed limits would change constantly. If the roadway were wet, if the traffic is thick, or the visibility is bad at a certain point in time then the speed limit would have to change continuously. But, the government can't be on the highway twenty-four hours of the day changing signs. If the government wants to set a safe speed standard then it must be much more realistic. A driver knows their ability as well as their vehicles ability under diverse conditions. If the government tries to tell society that the faster speeds they are traveling is harmful; people will not feel that the government is looking out for their safety. They will instead feel as if though they were being treated as children. Therefor the speed limit on highways should be increased, and individuals should be allowed to drive at a safe "high" speed without being held back by an unrealistic law.

From first-hand experience, one should easily realize that the common man would feel negativity toward raising speed limits. People fall into this trap because the general public is often mislead into believing that abolishing speed limits on highways will only cause more harm than good. People often are the victims of misunderstanding and people rarely observe the advantages offered by increasing the speed limit to a safe level.

Misunderstandings that the public has range from a variety of ideas. People believe that "speed kills." Republican Senator Michael DeWine asserted, "if we raise the speed limit… people will die," before the approval of the repeal on the nation-wide speed limit of 55 mph (Shemmens). Democratic Senator Frank Launtenberg agreed, "…we'll directly contribute to death and injury of thousands"(Johnson). However, the idea of speed killing is completely erroneous. Since someone has to move for there to be a collision, "speed" is the technically the cause of all car accidents. Although "speed" does kill, those who have actually been speeding at an unsafe level have only accounted for approximately one-third of all automobile related fatalities (The Star Ledger). However what these statistics don't factor, is that majority of those who cause these accidents are not only guilty of speeding. "Speeding" is merely a small portion of accidents caused by an irresponsible driver who takes the lives of others lightly. People who commit these horrible atrocities including reckless and intoxicated driving should be punished, not those who merely drive faster than the posted speeds. A person who drives over the speed limit in a responsible way with the many safety features, such as air bags and reinforced steel frames, that have developed over the years is not a huge threat to the driving society.

The most popular misunderstanding is that with lower speeds the fatality rate will fall and with higher speeds the fatality rate will rise. Most people...
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