Should Freeway Speed Limits Be Raised?

by tylercook on November 21, 2013

  • Sharebar

Wherever you drive in the United States, you’ll be confronted with a restraint: the speed limit. Speed limits vary from road to road and state to state, but they’re inescapable, deterring you from traveling too fast and promising you a hefty fine if you choose to do so anyway. On rural highways this is rarely an issue, because people generally don’t need to travel faster than the speed limit. On freeways though, these limits can be agonizing.

Not only do speed limits restrain drivers, but they hinder interstate commerce as well, as they drastically limit the speed in which goods can move from point A to point B. Naturally, many people believe that freeway speed limits should be raised, and that the positives would outweigh any drawbacks. Others disagree, arguing that raising the speed limit on some roads would be dangerous.

Below is a look at some reasons why freeway speed limits should be increased, and some reasons why they should not.

Why freeway speed limits should be raised

The biggest argument for raising freeway speeds is to promote interstate commerce. There’s simply no denying that interstate commerce would benefit from a raise in freeway speed limits, which would ultimately help the economy.

Furthermore, respectable people refute the widely believed notion that higher freeway speeds increase collision-based fatalities. It is worth noting that the number of accidents in recent years caused by speeding has declined, despite rising speed limits. This would support the notion that increased speed limits are not much, if any, more dangerous than current ones.

Part of this is because, when speed limits are raised — such as the freeway in Texas that now has an 85MPH limit — the roads are usually rebuilt or designed specifically to handle the demands of automobiles traveling at higher speeds, making them that much safer.

Why freeway speed limits should not be raised

For all the people who believe that increased freeway speeds do not result in more traffic fatalities, there are even more people who believe that they do. It’s pretty straightforward: at high speeds, drivers have less control of their cars, less reaction time, and collisions have a higher impact. That is a bad recipe for safety, and there’s no denying that a high speed zone is dangerous for young and inexperienced drivers.

Furthermore, the higher the speed limit, the more important road maintenance is. Potholes or other road imperfections can be disastrous to vehicles traveling at a high speed. In many places, road maintenance is spotty at best, suggesting that many of the nation’s freeways could become dangerous if they had higher speed limits.

Finally, part of why high-speed freeways like the one in Texas work, is because there are low speed alternatives for drivers who are uncomfortable with driving that fast. Everyone on Texas’ 85MPH freeway feels comfortable driving at 85-95MPH. If all freeways raised their speed limits, that would no longer be the case, as those uncomfortable at that speed would not have a lower speed freeway option.

It seems that speed limits are destined to rise, because as one state raises theirs, others will follow. Whether or not that’s a good thing remains up for debate.


Richard Knight is a freelance writer who focuses on shipping, trucking, international business, freight trains, transportation, traffic law and other related topics. Richard recommends that those looking for more info on freight shipping should click here.




Latest posts by tylercook (see all)

No related posts.

Previous post:

Next post: