THE 55 MPH LIMIT

NOW THAT THE PRICE OF GASOLINE HAS DECREASED, we have been besieged by various groups over the last few weeks encouraging us to write an editorial urging the United States to increase the speed limit on federal highways from 55 mph to 65 mph or even 70 mph on super engineered high-speed highways.

We have not written such an editorial for various reasons. First, we have

rarely seen drivers maintain a 55 mph limit. Truckers, in particular, travel the highways at 65 mph to 70 mph. Would drivers hit 80 mph if the limit were increased to 65 mph? Second, the lower speed saves fuel, though it is said to increase driving time in the nation by 1 billion hours a year. Even at $3.65 an hour, the minimum wage, that would seem to make the industry's annual wage costs $3.65 billion higher than they would be without the limit. Truckers make a good deal more than that, so the cost would be even greater. And the lower speed limit does keep highway fatalities down. National traffic fatalities fell by 15.3 percent in the first year the 55 mph limit was imposed.

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