As approved by the
American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials Board of Directors
on April 19, 1994


TITLE: The National Statutory Speed Limit

WHEREAS, Congress has mandated a National Maximum Speed Limit of fifty-five miles per hour on any public highway within state jurisdiction, except on rural Interstate highways where the speed limit may not exceed sixty-five miles per hour; and

WHEREAS, years of highway and traffic engineering experience have demonstrated that motorists tend to drive at a speed which they perceive to be reasonable and prudent for the highway on which they are operating; and

WHEREAS, experience has shown appropriate speed limits can properly attract traffic to the safest highway facilities increased overall safety; and

WHEREAS, experience has further shown that speed limits set arbitrarily below the reasonable and prudent speed perceived by the public are difficult to enforce, produce noncompliance, encourage disrespect for the law, create unnecessary antagonism toward law enforcement officers, and divert traffic to lesser routes; and

WHEREAS, the intermittent application of sixty-five and fifty-five miles per hour speed limits in the vicinity of urban areas creates confusion among motorists and can lead to unsafe acts; and

WHEREAS, the majority of the Interstate system was designed and constructed for speeds of up to seventy miles per hour; and

WHEREAS, implementation of the National Maximum Speed Limit has created confusion and has generated considerable criticism due to unexpected and apparently unnecessary speed limit reductions; and

WHEREAS, motorists have clearly demonstrated through their actions that they perceive arbitrary speed limits to be unreasonable;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Board of Directors of AASHTO urges Congress to allow the states to set reasonable speed limits on urban and rural highways following established traffic engineering principles and in accordance with the Manual on Uniform Control Devices (MUTCD);

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this resolution be forwarded to the appropriate Congressional committees, the National Governor's Association, and the Federal Highway Administration.

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