Saturday, July 12, 2008

Willing to drive 55 again?

Remember the 55 mph speed limit? A lot of people complained about it as they had grown accustomed to driving 70 mph. Apparently, a number of school bus crashes and other accidents led the way to dropping highway speeds for safety. But in 1995, that legislation was repealed to the great happiness of drivers in many states. Now in 2008, safety isn't the main concern; it's fuel consumption. With that in mind, a senator is proposing a return to the lower limit.
Is the double-nickel speed limit ready for a comeback? Thus far, Congress has made no move toward resurrecting the 55 mph speed limit, but one of the Senate's senior members — Republican John Warner of Virginia — says it's time to start the conversation about an energy-saving national speed limit to help spare Americans from skyrocketing fuel costs.

The federal 55 mph limit was imposed during the energy crisis of the mid-1970s. It remained in effect for 20 years and ultimately was booted off the roadways by Congress in 1995 amid near-universal contempt among motorists. Warner hasn't specified a new limit, but he points out that Americans saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day when the 55 mph limit was in effect. He told senators this week that he probably will proceed with legislation after the Energy Department determines the most fuel-efficient speed limit for the nation's highways.

Senator puts national speed limit on agenda by Dave Montgomery
I get the idea that government thinks we can't make our own decisions. And quite frankly, they may be right. But what would happen if a few people decided to slow down to save gas? Would that be too difficult? "Oh," you say. "But people will honk at me and make angry gestures!" Give me a break! Can't we make our own decisions and stick to them despite the opposition? If we don't, be sure that the government will be happy to take over and make those decisions for us.

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