NMA Email Newsletter: Issue #57

Speed Kills Higher Speed Limits Prove Motorists React Responsibly

It has been a year since Utah increased the speed limit along some sections of I-15 to 80 mph, joining some rural highway stretches of Texas as having the highest posted limits in the U.S. Although proponents of 55 mph speed limits were apoplectic and dire in their predictions of highway fatalities stacking up along the I-15 roadside, Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) data show that there has been no increase in accidents in the areas that have higher designated speed limits.

Before we tell the Speed Kills cadre that “we told you so”, there is more. UDOT measured the 85th percentile speed along those stretches of I-15, both before and after the limit was increased to 80 mph. The agency’s findings blew another myth out of the water, namely the one that claims drivers will automatically increase their speed by at least the same increment as the raised limit.

At the previously posted 75 mph limit, UDOT’s traffic study showed that a majority of drivers traveled at 81 to 85 mph. When the speed limit was increased by 5 mph to 80, the traffic stream was mostly at 83 to 85 mph. So, in other words, the degree of “speeding” actually decreased when Utah established a standard using 85th percentile data. Drivers along I-15 demonstrated their comfort zone to be in the 80 to 85 mph range, regardless of the posted speed limit. This once again proved the effectiveness of using the 85th percentile speed to promote a safe, efficient traffic flow. And it no doubt increased the driving pleasure for the motorists traveling along the I-15 corridor in Utah.

OK, now we can exclaim to the double nickel supporters: We told you so!

On a unrelated, but interesting note:
Check out the new design of our Speed Trap Exchange website which lists over 55,000 speed traps across the USA and Canada. Please help out the NMA and your fellow drivers by posting the speed traps in your area. Forward the site to your friends and get their input too!

Newsletter Archives:
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