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So, What Should the Speed Limit(s) Be?


Mike

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This thread, which started with a post by one of our LEO members prompted a discussion about artificially low speed limits. So, here's the question: if you were King of the Highways, where would you set the speed limits? Keep in mind that you're going to have to share the road with the full panoply of morons who are currently on the road.

 

And here's a challenge . . . let's see if we can do this without bad-mouthing LEOs. What are reasonable speed limits for our North American roads? Are any limits necessary?

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Lone_RT_rider

Oh this ought to be good....

 

Highway = 90 MPH

 

Local roads where no housing is involved = 70

 

lurker.gif

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Well, I was going to quip, "unlimited for me and 55 for the rest of you," but it really is not so easy to answer. I'll think on it for a while before replying with anything substantial. Good question, Mike.

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on the PA turnpike most people routinely drive in excess of 75 mph then there are people like me cruising at 85-100 when i'm on my bike. i think speed limits of 80 mph on the interstate hwy's would be more than safe.

 

however, if each state were to impose more stringent licensing requirements similiar to what it takes to get a german drivers license i think you could eliminate speed limits on interstates all together. the biggest problem with a large majority of american drivers is most are idiots. a huge amount of drivers either don't know or know but don't care about rules of the road. that's the reason why you have dumbasses driving 10 mph slower than the posted speed limit in the left lane.

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Lets_Play_Two

"the biggest problem with a large majority of american drivers is most are idiots."

 

I disagree with this because I think it is an even bigger problem just needing more time to happen. Driving in this country is going the way of 3rd world countries, i.e. no regard for the traffic laws at all, and we see some of that here. Every day more and more people routinely run red lights, don't stop for stop signs and break speed limits. Raising the speed limit with just increase the speed at which people break the limit. We will become Brasil without the Formula 1 drivers. Not waiting for red lights to change, driving into oncoming lanes rather than wait behind cars waiting for the light, leaving expressways via the entrance ramps because we missed the exit, making four lanes on three lane roads. I see all of this happening because of individual disregard for responsibility and the attitude of only worrying about me and no one else (all drivers but me are idiots!). You can light me up all you want, but it is already happening on the roads here in Florida.

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The 85th percentile rule should work well when consistently enforced, i.e. no artificial 35 mph or 55 mph (etc.) maximums... just the true 85th percentile speed.

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The 85th percentile rule should work well, but only if truly enforced, i.e. no artificial 30 mph or 55 mph (etc.) maximums... just the true 85th percentile speed.

EXACTLY! This is a standad rule of highway speed control that is generally ignored by those who set the limits.

 

Speed limits are usually set by politicians, not highway engineers. Here in North America, we have a childish "speed is evil" mentality that is less prevalent in places like Germany, where speeds are higher and fatality rates are lower. Of course, over there, they don't give drivers licenses away in boxes of corn flakes, either.

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The answer is IMO "It depends".

 

On I 70 in western Kansas and eastern Colorado 80 seems to be about right. On I 70 in downtown Kansas City or St. Louis maybe 60 is more reasonable?

 

What about the vast open spaces of Utah, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado? Should even secondary or state roads in those areas have higher limits than the county highway that runs in front of my house in S. Illinois?

 

David Hough in More Proficient Motorcycling has a graph on Page 55 that shows Accident Risk Compared to 85th Percentile Traffic Speeds. It shows that 10 MPH slower to 10 MPH faster than the average speed is the safest speed regardless of the posted limit. Source is US DOT Report # FHWA/RD-85/096.

 

Interesting reading. Food for thought.

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The 85th percentile rule should work well, but only if truly enforced, i.e. no artificial 30 mph or 55 mph (etc.) maximums... just the true 85th percentile speed.

EXACTLY! This is a standad rule of highway speed control that is generally ignored by those who set the limits.

 

What's so magical about the 85th percentile? Is this a scientifically supported standard, or just an arbitrary figure that some traffic engineer dreamed up decades ago? I pose this question because traffic engineers have, in some instances, now learned that old assumptions about the smooth and efficient flow of traffic are completely erroneous.

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Dave McReynolds

As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I was growing up in Nevada, there were no speed limits on the highways other than in the towns and cities. I really don't think anyone had a problem with that, and I have to believe that if there had been an excessive number of speed related accidents, they wouldn't have allowed it to continue. I believe Nevada was forced to adopt the 55 mph speed limit along with everyone else when it was federally mandated, and has never been able to return to no speed limits.

 

So I would be in favor of no speed limits on appropriate roads, like I-5 through the central valley of California, for example.

 

But in reality, I believe that we will soon look back on the present time as the good old days of high speeds, when we could legally go 70 mph in places. I predict that speed limits will be lowered in the future, perhaps back to 55 mph, as gasoline becomes more scarce and efforts are made to conserve remaining supplies, or as the cost of importing oil puts too much of a strain on our balance of payments, or as political/idealogical rifts continue to grow between oil producing countries and the rest of us.

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90RedRider

Limit should be whatever you can do in a responsible manner. You don't want to be passing traffic by weaving in and out from one lane to the other in a way that is reckless. You don't want to overtake a line of cars moving 50 mph faster than they are. Leave it to the LEO's. Ask them to control the mayhem but let traffic flow. Bad driving, pull them over for warning or advice/ instruction. Many of the LEO vehicles now have video so this could be used by them inhouse to assess what standards are to be used.

All this should be readily changable , if it worked , go with it. If the LEO's get too heavy handed , re-evaluate . If everyone including the old and infirmed try to run like Indy pull it back. If the speeders only kill themselves , well that could be a plus . If they hurt others , well bring back the rock piles.

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The 85th percentile rule should work well, but only if truly enforced, i.e. no artificial 30 mph or 55 mph (etc.) maximums... just the true 85th percentile speed.

EXACTLY! This is a standad rule of highway speed control that is generally ignored by those who set the limits.

 

What's so magical about the 85th percentile? Is this a scientifically supported standard, or just an arbitrary figure that some traffic engineer dreamed up decades ago? I pose this question because traffic engineers have, in some instances, now learned that old assumptions about the smooth and efficient flow of traffic are completely erroneous.

 

All very interesting ideas about traffic in urban areas. Doesn't address the concept of speed limits in rural areas at all.

 

Refer to my previous post for the information regarding the 85th percentile.

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The 85th percentile rule should work well, but only if truly enforced, i.e. no artificial 30 mph or 55 mph (etc.) maximums... just the true 85th percentile speed.

EXACTLY! This is a standad rule of highway speed control that is generally ignored by those who set the limits.

 

What's so magical about the 85th percentile? Is this a scientifically supported standard, or just an arbitrary figure that some traffic engineer dreamed up decades ago? I pose this question because traffic engineers have, in some instances, now learned that old assumptions about the smooth and efficient flow of traffic are completely erroneous.

 

All very interesting ideas about traffic in urban areas. Doesn't address the concept of speed limits in rural areas at all.

 

Refer to my previous post for the information regarding the 85th percentile.

 

I understand and I'm not necessarily arguing that the 85th percentile speed should be discounted. But, has anyone studied setting limits at the 90th percentile, the 150th (?) percentile, or any other statistical point? It also occurs to me that the 85th percentile speed is also affected to a significant degree by the existing posted speed limit on the roads being studied. There are, after all, a few people whose behavior is affected by the law. grin.gif

 

Also, I'm not sure I agree with the concept that these experiments don't have any implications for the "concept of speed limits in rural areas." The traffic engineering theory du jour is that motorists self-regulate themselves in these uncontrolled environments to achieve a higher level of safety than they would when there are traffic law limitations imposed on them. Isn't it possible that this concept would extend to the speeds at which unfettered motorists would travel?

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Geez, I'm definitely the odd ball. People, in general drive too fast already and raising limits will just make 'em drive even faster. I regularly drive the speed limit, except in 25 mph zones as my RT has no gear for that speed blush.gif

 

So, most speed limits are just fine with me as they are now, with the exception of the silly 25 mph speed traps.

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Paul Mihalka

A lot of talking/writing is comparing USA speeds and Western Europe speeds. The talked about driver training is one factor. Many more drivers in Europe being proud to be good drivers is another factor. Solid mechanical speed limit on large trucks is another. It does not happen that you are driving at 75 on a 65 Interstate and big truck is passing you at 80+. Another is the enforced safety of the cars. Strict yearly or two-year inspections (TUEV in Germany) to make sure that tires, brakes, shock absorbers, steering, are in good shape. A 1960s Buick with original shocks would not be on the road. If the speed limits are set to be "safe" for Winnebagos and 18wheelers, they are slow even for current Camrys and Malibus.

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ShovelStrokeEd

Simple to me, remove all limits where there is no proximate danger to children, stick fingers in ears and turn your back for a couple of years. Darwin will have solved the major portion of the problem for you.

 

A goodly portion of the driving public already drives at speeds that are reasonable and proper for conditions regardless of the posted limits. That's how/why the 85th percentile rule was first enacted. Those same good folks would continue at the same reasonable and proper speeds if the limits were removed.

 

Now, to make this work, you need a couple of helper laws in there. DUI? Go to jail for 364 days, first offense, no plea bargain, no appeal, no time off. Vehicular manslaugter? 5 years, minimum, aggravated, 15 years. Same rules.

 

Need more room in the prisons? No problem, let all the small drug offenders out, legalize the recreational use of drugs and provide meaningful support systems for addicts. Heroin and cocaine addiction is not really a problem until you can't afford to get the stuff anymore. Then it becomes a BIG problem.

 

Ahhhhh, I'm getting way off base and way to political, sorry folks. Colleagues, feel free to delete all or part. I should do it myself but, I need a rant now and then.

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p_interceptor

 

I will say it again for the third time on the third thread,,,

 

The one thing I have learned in 39 years as a Florida State Trooper --- "everyone wants the traffic laws strictly enforced for everyone but themselves."

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While I realize that everyone responding is an above average driver (as is everyone I've ever talked to), there must be some below average drivers somewhere who can bearly make it down the road.

 

Do you want your mother to be able to drive a car? Should she be able to get on the highway and travel to visit her old friend in the next town? She's not going to do it with people whizzing by her at twice her speed. Hey, how about your Dad? Are you ready to start taking him around to go to the hardware store and get a haircut? What about his morning coffee and donuts with the other guys at the mall? More importantly, are you ready to give up driving in ten years or so when you become your mom or dad in the eyes of the law?

 

My point, for what it's worth: There's going to be a speed limit and if it's 60 then it takes a certain amount of time to get somewhere; if it's 90 then it takes a little less time. It doesn't really matter; it takes as long as it takes and I'll spend that amount of time getting there. By keeping the speed limits more moderate, we can prolong our driving years and reduce the severity of accidents. The only thing that bothers me is when I'm driving at what I consider to be the adjusted speed limit (usually sign plus 5 or 10) and I get whizzed by someone who is too important to pay even lip service to the law. That to me is the real danger, the difference in people's "interpretation" of the speed limit.

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The 85th percentile rule should work well, but only if truly enforced, i.e. no artificial 30 mph or 55 mph (etc.) maximums... just the true 85th percentile speed.

EXACTLY! This is a standad rule of highway speed control that is generally ignored by those who set the limits.

 

What's so magical about the 85th percentile? Is this a scientifically supported standard, or just an arbitrary figure that some traffic engineer dreamed up decades ago? I pose this question because traffic engineers have, in some instances, now learned that old assumptions about the smooth and efficient flow of traffic are completely erroneous.

 

All very interesting ideas about traffic in urban areas. Doesn't address the concept of speed limits in rural areas at all.

 

Refer to my previous post for the information regarding the 85th percentile.

 

I understand and I'm not necessarily arguing that the 85th percentile speed should be discounted. But, has anyone studied setting limits at the 90th percentile, the 150th (?) percentile, or any other statistical point? It also occurs to me that the 85th percentile speed is also affected to a significant degree by the existing posted speed limit on the roads being studied. There are, after all, a few people whose behavior is affected by the law. grin.gif

 

Also, I'm not sure I agree with the concept that these experiments don't have any implications for the "concept of speed limits in rural areas." The traffic engineering theory du jour is that motorists self-regulate themselves in these uncontrolled environments to achieve a higher level of safety than they would when there are traffic law limitations imposed on them. Isn't it possible that this concept would extend to the speeds at which unfettered motorists would travel?

 

Correct me if I'm wrong, you seem to be suggesting that there be no speed limits and allow "unfettered" motorists to drive at whatever speed they wish.

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Good Question! We lower the speed limits, straighten the curves, level the hills and make traveling so easy that people get bored, disinterested and distracted. I say make driving more engaging, exciting and challenging - maybe people will hang up the phone, put down the food, turn off the DVD, stop text messaging and pay attention! I guess that's what I love about riding - I'm engaged, excited and challenged by other "travelers" ... increase the limits!

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St0nkingByte
Geez, I'm definitely the odd ball. People, in general drive too fast already and raising limits will just make 'em drive even faster. I regularly drive the speed limit, except in 25 mph zones as my RT has no gear for that speed blush.gif

 

So, most speed limits are just fine with me as they are now, with the exception of the silly 25 mph speed traps.

 

The correct gear for 25mph on the RT is 1st. The revs won't hurt it.

 

So when you guys are talking about how fast we can go what is that speed relative to? You know the Earth spins at somewhere around 800 miles per hour in the mid lattitudes (over 1000 at the equator). Of course the Earth is also traveling around the sun at about 67,000 miles per hour... dopeslap.gif

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Just recently returned from a 3 year European vacation and I was sooooo impressed with how responsibly Europeans drive.

 

Obtaining a drivers license is no easy task. The age limit is 18, and if you are ever caught driving before you turn 18, you will wait until you are 21. blush.gif

 

All wannabe drivers must go through an expensive and extensive drivers training course.

 

And then there is European insurance. They use a similar point system like many states here do. The difference is that points do not roll off after a period of time. Each driver has a limited number of points, and if you ever reach it, your license is revoked and you must attend drivers training all over again.

 

Drinking and driving is intolerable and the penalties are harse. Add to that the fact that nowhere in Europe is it legal to drive while talking on a cell phone, combine that with a very liberal use of roadside cameras, and you have pretty safe roads despite that fact that they drive faster and on narrower roads.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, you seem to be suggesting that there be no speed limits and allow "unfettered" motorists to drive at whatever speed they wish.

 

No, not at all. I think that the majority of the population (you and I excluded, of course grin.gif ) either are not up to the task and/or operate vehicles that would not be safe in a no-limits environment. But, I do feel that rural speed limits are generally too low, enough so that they can contribute to accidents.

 

What I was suggesting--though I admit that I don't have a better suggestion--is that the 85th percentile study is a methodology that employs logic that I find, well, elusive. It seems to me that the 85th percentile speed is always going to be influenced to a degree by existing speed limits. Moreover, while there have been studies centered around the 85th percentile limit that suggest it enhances safety, I havent seen any evidence that establishing speed limits at, say, the 90th or 95th percentile would be any less safe. It appears to be a number that someone pulled out of the air at some point in history.

 

But my point in starting the thread wasn't necessarily to arrive at the "right" BMWST.com answer. Rather, I've been struck by how much we all complain about the enforcement of existing limits. I was interested in seeing in seeing how people would react to the theoretical possibility of having the power to determine this question--in other words, "Here you go, Bub. It's up to you . . . just remember that your kids and mine will be on the road, too. Now, tell me what the correct answer is, in your view."

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just the true 85th percentile speed

 

So, how is that speed determined? Does the speed limit vary with actual congestion? Maybe it's 30mph during the commute and 85mph at 3am? Does the speed limit drop if there's an accident that slows the traffic flow? Dynamically changing traffic signs every few miles? Or maybe it's the average 85th percentile over a year? 10 years?

 

What happens when you start enforcing a speed limit based on percentiles of actual speed? If the top 15% get ticketed enough to deter speeding, the average speed falls, which means the 85th percentile falls too. Isn't it a downward trend only countered by people exceeding the speed limit?

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I dunno, maybe it's just me, but the idea of setting speed limits based on what the average driver feels is safe seems quite logical. One can always attack any specific methodology (such as the 85th percentile) in a hundred ways, but the concept itself seems to be much more practical, equitable, and supportable than what is used to set speed limits currently, which in many cases is nothing more than an uninformed and unscientific opinion.

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Heck, you don't have to exclude me. I've high sided and low sided so I'm not a sterling example of safety. blush.gif

 

I do appreciate the discussion however. It helps sharpen up one's thoughts on the idea.

 

 

Regards.

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I wasn't attacking it, Seth, just thinking about what it might mean to implement. I find it an interesting idea. But then, people here mostly ignore speed limits along with many other traffic laws, arbirary or otherwise.

 

For many years, California has had a basic speed law which says that you must travel at a reasonable speed. Given a law like that, I don't see why we need posted speed limits at all.

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SAAB93driver

It has been my observation that the driving conditions on the interstates in the US started to decline as the speed limit went to 70+. There is no order in the way people drive (ie slower traffic keep right) which is compounded with the higher speed differentials we see on the highways today and combine that with increased number of distractions and it does not point to a positive situation.

 

It might be an unpopular opinion but in short I think the speed limits are plenty high enough now and maybe too high for some people to handle. If we US drivers were more disciplined then I'd say raising them would be appropriate, but right now I think raising them would create more chaos and in some cases they should be lowered (there was a time not long ago I never thought I'd say that)

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Bill Neander

I,too, drove in Nevada when there were no speed limits outside of city limits. BUT- there was hardly any traffic to speak of back in the 60s. You rarely saw a car behind or in front of you and you could easily go 20 or 30 miles before seeing another car coming the other way. This was on Highway 80-maybe still called 40 back then. Some gas stations merely required signalling, slowing and turning left into them-no overpasses. In my opinion what made this possible was the absence of 18-wheelers. Freight was still being transported by rail. So, you're cruising down the road at 90 or 100 on a two lane road which is in good shape without 18-wheelers beating it up and a car goes the other direction at 90 or 100-no problem-no wind blast from an 18-wheeler. Roads were so desolate-there were no cell phones-that people would stop to help travelers pulled over to the side of the road. I guess we'll never be able to go back to trusting strangers like we once did. Back to the point-I feel if the traffic density per mile is below a certain figure then speed limits are unnecessary-the denser the traffic the greater the need for speed limits.

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Francois_Dumas

Since I have been made aware that 'outsider's' comments on such touchy subjects are mostly not welcome I'll refrain from giving you my opinion.......

but since Europe is mentioned a few times I think it is valid to mention that speed limits here will go further down with population further increasing. Even in Germany. Ecological factors of course also play a major role these days and have been for many years. One region in Austria has speed limits and even driving restriction for trucks at night and in weekends for many many years already, just to limit polution levels.

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SAAB93driver
Since I have been made aware that 'outsider's' comments on such touchy subjects are mostly not welcome I'll refrain from giving you my opinion.......

but since Europe is mentioned a few times I think it is valid to mention that speed limits here will go further down with population further increasing. Even in Germany. Ecological factors of course also play a major role these days and have been for many years. One region in Austria has speed limits and even driving restriction for trucks at night and in weekends for many many years already, just to limit polution levels.

 

I work for German company's subsidiary in the US and driving/cars/bikes is always a lively topic even for an outsider like me who prefers 4 wheels to be from Sweden rather than Germany. When I mentioned in conversation that I heard the EU was pressuring Germany on autobahn speed limits in order to be more green needless to say my German colleagues are not amused with the prospect. I have to say in Germany the traffic flow is much more organized, as a culture they seem to be able to handle the lack of speed limits in a safer manner than the US. Doing 90 in a Mercedes Taxi is not unusual and not the white knuckle experience it is in the back of a '86 Impala in New Orleans.

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For many years, California has had a basic speed law which says that you must travel at a reasonable speed. Given a law like that, I don't see why we need posted speed limits at all.
Yes, one would wonder about that, but in reality there are plenty of contrary limits since the California basic speed law is superseded by any speed limit sign that lists a 'Maximum Speed'... and as you know there are plenty of those. But your question is a good one... why are there so many?
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Knifemaker

Interstate speed.... 75-80mph

Interstate local (in town and around town loops)....55mph

Local speeds 35-45mph

School zones 15mph

Rural zones 60-65 (based on road conditions)

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Since I have been made aware that 'outsider's' comments on such touchy subjects are mostly not welcome I'll refrain from giving you my opinion.......

but since Europe is mentioned a few times I think it is valid to mention that speed limits here will go further down with population further increasing. Even in Germany. Ecological factors of course also play a major role these days and have been for many years. One region in Austria has speed limits and even driving restriction for trucks at night and in weekends for many many years already, just to limit polution levels.

 

Naah, you're not an outsider . . . you're just one of us who lives "over there." So, our cultural experiences and perspectives are always going to be different.

 

I've lived in Europe and I'm always intrigued by the notion (often repeated on these pages) that European (particularly German) drivers are so much more disciplined than those in the U.S. My impression is that, while there once was a significant difference, the state of driving in Europe as a whole has declined considerably. When I've visited Europe in the past few years, I've noted a pretty widespread prevalence of the type of poor driving we used to attribute only to Americans--dangerous passing, lack of lane discipline, and general disregard for other motorists. I think it's largely a result of traffic congestion, but perhaps more importantly, a more egocentric perspective that's now pervasive in western cultures.

 

When our Interstate highway system was being built a few decades ago, it's my understanding that the engineers designed those highways for safe travel at 100 m.p.h., and that was with the automotive technology of the 1950s in mind. Except for a couple of states that did not, for some periods, have speed limits(Nevada and Montana come to mind), the limits have never approached that level--I've seen 75 and 80 m.p.h. limits, but those are the highest I recall.

 

One of the things that is vastly different here than in Europe is the fact that there are some Interstate highways that traverse vast differences (hundreds of miles in some cases), through generally unpopulated areas, save for a few small towns. Looking at it in terms solely of safety, it does seem that many of those highways could safely support travel at much higher speeds than what is currently permitted.

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What I really want to know is what speed the LEOs on this board think people should be driving at. Clearly, the posted speed limit is not an honest answer, because few drive it (especially the LEOs themselves) and nobody enforces it.

 

Most claim to enforce somewhere between 10-30 mph over the posted limit. My personal experience living in the Northeast and Midwest is that the typical thresholds are 10-20 over, although I occasionally hear of people being cited by "townies" for only 5 over. On trips I've taken out in the West, speeds have been pretty variable; particularly fast in SoCal and Nevada, particularly slow in Oregon.

 

My biggest frustration with speed enforcement is trying to figure out what the real speed limit is, because it's never the posted limit. It's especially frustrating when traveling, because the accepted limit varies by jurisdiction, road, and often the personality & mood of the LEO.

 

Dave

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All speed limits advisory only based on road engineering and hazards (curves, etc...). If set by 85th percentile, no artificial means shall be used to slow traffic prior to the study taking place.

 

Extreme penalties for accidents with injuries, especially hit & run, school zone with pedestrians involved, influenced/distracted driving, driving without valid license, etc.

No vehicular collision damage insurance allowed.

No tolerance / 2nd chances, etc.

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When our Interstate highway system was being built a few decades ago, it's my understanding that the engineers designed those highways for safe travel at 100 m.p.h.
I have an old Rand McNally atlas that says the system was designed for 85mph. That's always seemed like a reasonable limit to me for open stretches of freeway or secondary road. Just as on the autobahns limits would be reduced near exits and other hazards (windy bridges for instance)
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Bill_Walker
Does the speed limit vary with actual congestion? Maybe it's 30mph during the commute and 85mph at 3am? Does the speed limit drop if there's an accident that slows the traffic flow? Dynamically changing traffic signs every few miles?

 

They use exactly this system on the Autobahn near large cities. If there's no traffic, they signs may show the "no limit" symbol, or maybe 120, or 100 kph. If there's traffic, they'll start ratcheting them down. And usually, there's a series of them over a couple of kms that step the limit down gradually.

 

Speaking of the Autobahn, European licensing has been mentioned. I told a German friend that I was taking Jamie's "First Responder" course this Sunday. He told me that in order to get a license in Germany, you have to take a similar course... except that it's 4 days long!

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no LEO bashing here,

 

If it was me in charge, I would set:

 

Highways that are further than 25 miles from cities more than 10,000 in population = 100mph

 

Highways that are cloer than 25 miles from cities with more than 10,000 in population = 70 mph

 

Surface streets where residential living is at least 100 feet back from the roads = 50mph

 

Surface streets where residential living is closer than 100 feet to the road = 40mph

 

School zones = current laws apply

 

Construction zones = current laws apply

 

RPG

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How about different individual speed limits based on a high performance driving skills test? Low skills drivers, slow lane. Drivers with skill like Tony Stewart, fast lane.

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Marty Hill

Bob,

 

You are 100% correct. Very few have the skills to be safe over 75mph. How many would be comfortable at 100+ in heavy traffic? How many have taken high speed driving courses? How many really even know how their ABS works? Having instructed and raced on road courses, I would guess 2-4% at best.

 

Things go bad very fast at speed. There is little or no time to think.

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Around the town, I don't care how low the speed limits are. Whether I drive at 50km/hr or 80km/hr makes only a small difference to my arrival time.

 

On the open freeways, say from Sydney to Melbourne (Australia), we have a road that will easily sustain traffic at 140km/hr (85mph). Obviously, safety only prevails if all the traffic is going around the same speed.

 

Our limits of 100km/hr or 110km/hr are terribly boring when we're on the long hual.

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Here in the urban area of Salt Lake City, actually from Spanish Fork to Ogden along the Wasatch Front, I would be in favor a freeway limit of 55 mph, strictly enforced, even for me.

 

In rural areas with little traffic I would be in favor of no limit if I thought people would act responsibly and slow around others, but they won't, so I'd probably go with something like 80, with enforcement only when the LEO feels that the speed is not safe for the condition.

 

On non-freeway rural roads in Utah the limit is typically 65. I could go with more on some of them.

 

Some of our canyon roads in the mtns, the twisties, are posted 40 or 45. At times there are a lot of hazards: bicyclists, hikers, gawkers driving slow, people pulling in and out of tight spots on curves, limited visibility. I can understand the speed limit because there are a huge number of wrecks up there, but I'd sure like to run them at 65.

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Here in the urban area of Salt Lake City, actually from Spanish Fork to Ogden along the Wasatch Front, I would be in favor a freeway limit of 55 mph, strictly enforced, even for me.
I'm always frustrated by the drop from 75 to 65 there, out of commute times the freeways are empty and there is no reason for a reduction.
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Shawnee Bill

I will say it again for the third time on the third thread,,,

 

The one thing I have learned in 39 years as a Florida State Trooper --- "everyone wants the traffic laws strictly enforced for everyone but themselves."

 

Sorry, but I think this is absolutely wrong. Saying it 3 times doesn't make it any more correct.

 

In many more than 39 years of knowing people, not just those "caught in the act", I find that most of us want laws enforced fairly. I think that is the motivation for the question of this thread, what is a fair law that could then be enforced fairly?

I find that most folks caught doing anything they know is against some questionable rule that is not evenly enforced are upset when they are singled out as "the example". From time to time someone has to be punished for breaking "the rule" or else no one will obey "the rule". Has nothing to do with traffic laws.

 

What do I think would be reasonable speed limits? I think that more study should be put into setting the limits for the conditions of each section of all roads. That includes traffic patterns for the road. Oklahoma, and I think this is common, has a blanket speed limit, rural two lanes are 65. There are rural two lane roads that 45 is not safe, there are rural two lane roads that 90 is reasonably safe. Speed limit on both, 65.

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A---MEN!!! thumbsup.gif I would only add that drivers should be tested for basic driving skills and rules of the road, they are obviously not doing it now. It may be as you say, the food, make up and cell phones make it appear that way.

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I've given some thought to how speed limits and highway laws should work, and simply raising the speed limits wouldn't do a whole lot. Yes, they are artificially low, but only by about 10 to 15 MPH, so first we boost them up that.

 

Secondly, I think we should completely overhall the drivers licensing system to utilize a scaled approach. A base license would require the current amount of training, be fairly low cost, and allow people to operate "standard" road cars (Civics, Fusions, etc). Then, like a CDL, I would add on endorsements to operate vehicles requiring special skills, be they SUV's or Ferrari's.

 

Then to incentivize this system, I would give special priviledges to those that have completed advanced training and proven they can operate a vehicle with a higher degree of skill. A "High Performance" license would exempt holders from being charged excessive fines and insurance premium charges for speeding within reason, say lower than 100 MPH on the Interstate and 20% of posted speed on local roads. Residential areas would still have their speed limits strictly enforced.

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...the California basic speed law is superseded by any speed limit sign that lists a 'Maximum Speed'...

 

In reality it is the other way around...while a road may be posted for a maximum of 65, if conditions (fog, rain, moron drivers, night time, etc) warrant the basic speed law requires you to drive at a lower more appropriate speed for those conditions.

 

I recall being in traffic court one day where a CHP had cited a gal who was reading the paper while driving at 60 in a 65. The CHP cited her for violation of the basic speed law - ANY speed is too fast to read and drive at the same time. The judge agreed and fined her $200.

 

The Skaggs Stewart Point road has been ruined by 35 mph speed limits imposed because too my squids crashed. Despite heavy LEO patrols - they continue to crash. So what has the speed limit accomplished?

 

If I were the Speed Limit Czar roads like 50 between Fallon and Ely would be 90+ I-5 in the Central Valley would be 90.

 

For people holding only a simple passenger car license,and driving RV's and 5th wheels, the speed limit would be ZERO until they pass a license class equivalent to the one most truck drivers have.

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In reality it is the other way around...while a road may be posted for a maximum of 65, if conditions (fog, rain, moron drivers, night time, etc) warrant the basic speed law requires you to drive at a lower more appropriate speed for those conditions.
No, 'in reality' it is:

 

22350. No person shall drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable or prudent having due regard for weather, visibility, the traffic on, and the surface and width of, the highway, and in no event at a speed which endangers the safety of persons or property.

 

This can be (and has been) used to justify 'safe speeds' both slightly above and below the posted limit (however as noted earlier you may never drive faster than a speed limit indicated as a 'Maximum Speed.')

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