November 29, 1995                Bob Morrow


Dane, Wisconsin
"The National Motorists Association was founded in 1982 for the express purpose of repealing the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit law. After 14 years of unrelenting effort, we have accomplished that objective. We have been (and remain) the only organization dedicated to ending the federal blackmail that has coerced the states into establishing arbitrary and counterproductive speed limits."

So began James J. Baxter, President, of the National Motorists Association, in his description of the process that culminated in the repeal of the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit, a law first established in 1973 as a temporary fuel economy measure.

"In 1982, no one took us seriously. Opinion polls proclaimed 80 percent of the public supported the 55 mph speed limit. Within three years, our campaign of editorials, public appearances, and grassroots activism eliminated much of the hypocracy and turned the opinion polls around with 70 percent of the respondents supporting higher speed limits."

"In 1987, we led the campaign to raise the speed limit to 65 mph on rural interstateshighways. It was the only viable option available at the time. We overcame formidable opposition from the majority party leadership, the Naderites, and the insurance industry to pass that bill."

Baxter went on to explain the events leading up to the recent Congressional action. "The radical changeover in Congress last year, combined with the growing public discontent with federal speed limits, created the opportunity to end this arbitrary and counterproductive law."

"Thanks to bills introduced by Representatives Larry Combest (R-TX), Scott Klug (R-WI), and Senator Don Nickles (R-OK), we had the vehicles we needed to promote repeal of federal speed limits. Subsequently, Senator Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) and Representative Bill Brewster (D-OK) adopted these bills as amendments to the National Highway System Act.

"Again, we were confronted with opposition on the part of leadership in both the House and Senate committees. However, a bipartisan majority of committee members overcame this opposition and voted in the interest of their constituents. Repeal of the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit became a component of both the House and Senate bills. This marked the beginning of the end of a law that had started 21 years ago, as a temporary measure."


The National Motorists Association (NMA) was established in 1982 to represent the interests and rights of American motorists. It operates at the national level and through a system of state chapters. The NMA is solely supported through the contributions of individuals, families, and small businesses. For general information, call 608/849-6000; for membership information, call 1-800-882-2785. Or visit the NMA's home page at:

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