Are you willing to risk safety to save 6.5 minutes of travel time?
Speed limits on highways across this great country range between 55 and 85 miles per hour depending on the size, location, and congestion of the highway. Lower limits are typically reserved for winding two-lane country highways while the 80-mph jaunts are reserved for four-lane rural Interstates.
While the nationwide 55-mph limit is long gone, some states still hang onto the lower limits in the name of safety and efficiency. Others, such as Nevada, Idaho, Texas, Montana, and more, are pushing limits up to 85 miles per hour.
Some say the higher limits are causing more accidents (and deaths) while advocates claim modern cars and desolate highways are the perfect recipe for speed.
Any road trip, especially in the western United States, brings mile after mile of desolate road cutting through empty land. That’s one of the beautiful benefits of living in and exploring the U.S., but it also brings endless repetition and the potential for speed-related accidents.
The federal speed limit was repealed in 1995 gave states the ability to determine appropriate speeds on highways. A 1999 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study found that deaths on all highways increased substantially after the repeal.
Last year, the IIHS released a follow-up to that study and found that 33,000 deaths were caused by increased speed limits on our highways over the last 20 years.
The study quotes Charles Farmer, IIHS vice president for research and statistical services, as saying,
Since 2013, speeds have only become more extreme, and the trend shows no sign of abating. We hope state lawmakers will keep in mind the deadly consequences of higher speeds when they consider raising limits.
With that in mind, Nevada has just increased a stretch of 130-mile highway northwest of Reno from 75 to 80 miles per hour. The increased speed is sure to please motorists, but could come at the cost of more human lives.
The time savings for that risk? An entire 6.5 minutes.
Do you think speed limits should keep going up, or is 70 fast enough?