Changing the Speed Limit

I suppose it's rather pointless to be writing a letter in opposition to the new speeding law, inasmuch as Congress has already reinstated the 65 m.p.h. speed limit along the interstate highways. Nevertheless, I was outraged at the photo of Colorado's Gov. Roy Romer (Times, April 8) smiling blissfully at the first 65 m.p.h. signpost.

Were I an editorial cartoonist I would have replaced his smiling face with death's grinning skull. Experts have long agreed that one certain result of the increased speed limit is that another 4,000 to 5,000 lives will be lost each year.

The fact is, we had a 65 m.p.h. speed limit in effect before Congress passed this new law. No one goes 55 m.p.h. I myself go 60 m.p.h. as a rule, and occasionally 65 m.p.h. when I feel particularly rushed--though only when I am late, because any fool can feel the dangerous difference in speed from 55 m.p.h. to 65 m.p.h.

But what Congress has passed is the 75 m.p.h. speed limit. Human nature what it is, now that Americans can drive 65 m.p.h., of course they will push it to the extreme.

What I can't figure out is why the state governments across this country would be in favor of the new law. After all, it's the state's coffers (though now their coffins) that are filling from the increased revenues from the enforcement of the 55 m.p.h. law. What could they possibly gain? I must be missing some important piece of the puzzle.

Only the oil companies would benefit by reversion to the 65 m.p.h. law. One burns a hell of a lot more gasoline at 75 m.p.h. Oh, and could it be that the state tax on gasoline generates more revenue than the tickets written by the highway patrol? Well, sure, what are thousands of dead Americans against that kind of profit?


Sherman Oaks

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