In 1974, President Richard Nixon, signed into law H.R. 11372 which was an Act created in response to an energy crisis the country was facing. A National Maximum Speed Limit of 55 mph was required for states to obtain federal funds for highway projects. Maybe this is why Sammy Hagar sang "I can't drive 55" in 1984! If you know the lyrics, the song is about a person who is getting pulled over for exceeding the 55 mph limit consistently. In all reality, I cannot remember the last time I drove down I-49 at 70 mph and didn't have every single car around me passing me at what seemed like warp speed. Anyway, I digress. In 1987 there were modifications to the National Maximum Speed Limit that increased the speed limit to 65. Maybe gas consumption did not drop as much as they expected? Or maybe Sammy had an impact on our good 'ole government! In 1995 the National Maximum Speed Limit was repealed completely! States were responsible once again for their own rules and regulations.
A recent Arkansas Highway Speed Limit Review & Recommendation shared the following items are considered when setting speed limits:
- Road surface characteristics, shoulder conditions, grade, alignment, sight distance
- 85th percentile (how do 85% of people in the area drive)
- Geometric Designs
- Crash/Safety Metrics
Based on the 2017 review, there were other things that more greatly impacted safety and driving than speed. Those that improved crash and safety included things like vehicle safety design: airbags, better tires, and collision avoidance systems. Those that increased accidents were the use of smartphones and texting.
Taking these things in to consideration, and celebrating SPEED LIMIT 55 day, I'm thinking this is a great day to commit to better road safety in our community! Take some time to educate yourself and your family & friends about the dangers of not paying attention to safety issues in and around your vehicle. Here are some great talking points for this discussion:
- Seat belts - wear them! They save lives!
- Never get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. Alcohol impairs - even one drink can make an impact.
- Never drive when physically tired. Falling asleep behind the wheel causes thousands of deaths every year.
- Never text and drive. Use one of those apps that auto-texts your friends when you are driving.
- Avoid doing anything else whilst driving (eating, putting on your make-up, fixing your hair, video recording yourself where you feel you should look at the camera instead of the road, etc)
- And please, emphasize how important it is to have your car checked and services regularly maintained at least twice a year. Proactive prevention is preferred over reactive break downs with vehicle safety matters. Your Safety is Our Passion!
No one is more responsible for your safety than yourself.