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Old 07-12-2008, 08:55 AM   #1 (permalink)
Bror Jace
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Question Re-Institute National 55mph?

Anyone else a news junkie? I've seen a couple times on Bill O'Reilly's show where the topic has come up ... should we re-institute a national 55mph speed limit? He had a poll (75% of respondents said "no") and it also came up as a topic of discussion when Laura Ingraham guest-hosted for him Friday, July 11th. I believe the idea is being floated elsewhere, too.

I'm of two minds on this. Yes, I'd love to see other people slow down (I rarely exceed 65mph anymore) and when I do it is often from "peer pressure" from my fellow motorists whizzing by me at 70+mph. I find myself speeding up (sometimes subconsciously) to reduce the speed disparity between myself and the majority of traffic.

However, I'm also a freedom-loving person (with a strong libertarian streak). I don't like the idea of more laws ... especially when the current laws aren't consistently enforced AND Federal laws applied to all the states equally makes little sense when driving differences in those states differ enormously.

Years ago, before we had 65mph in certain places, automotive analysts thought that there would be no problem if the speed limit was modestly increased and enforced at the higher rate. Many (most?) people traveled that fast (and then some) anyway.

And, I have to think that if people just put a little more air in their tires, stopped idling in parking lots for no reason and cease using retail drive-through windows, they'd save a lot more gas than if they merely slowed down 10mph on the thruways/expressways. Plus, I expect that the auto industry is really going to take the stops out and go more aero in the coming years ... I'm talking smooth, super efficient bodies minus roof racks and plus rear wheel well skirts. This will help reduce the disparity between drag at 55mph and 65mph.

I mean, we last tried this in the 70s ... when we (as a nation) were driving mechanical dinosaurs shaped like bricks. Hasn't technology and automotive design come a long while since then?

Please feel free to interject some real efficiency into the discussion ... data and person experience of all types welcome.

--- Bror Jace
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