Re: Repeal of the National Speed Limit Law

People who argue that "speed kills", because going faster is 
more dangerous, entirely miss the point.  The issue not 
whether to have any speed limits at all, it is an issue of 
where to draw the line.

The Federal Highway Administration performed experiments on 
speed limits, concluding in their final report on "Effects 
of Raising and Lowering Speed Limits" Report No. FHWA-RD-92-
084 that "the majority of motorists do not alter their speed 
to conform to speed limits they perceive as unreasonable for 
prevailing conditions."  People neither slow down for speed 
limits they feel are too low, nor do they speed up for speed 
limits which are too high.  This study also shows "Lowering 
speed limits more than 5 mi/h  below the 85th percentile 
speed of traffic did not reduce accidents."  The 85th 
percentile speed is the speed below which 85 percent of the 
people drive. The abstract and finding of this report are 
available on

On the Denver-Boulder Turnpike the 85th percentile is about 
65 mph.  In good weather, this is a safe speed on this 
limited access highway.  Setting the speed limit at 65 mph 
would bring the law into conformance with the speed that 
most people think is safe.

Most drivers pick a reasonably safe speed.  To set the speed 
limit below the 85th percentile does nothing but make 
violators out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.  It creates 
disrespect for the law, when the laws are so unreasonable 
that most people violate them.  We should set the speed 
limits on limited access highways no lower than the 85th 

-Ted Weverka