Amid ongoing debate over role of speed: “Michigan Approves Higher Speed Limits” Who is right?

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder recently signed legislation which:

. . . authorizes a 75 mph speed limit on 600 miles of freeways and a 65 mph limit on 900 miles of non-freeway roads. The bill also raises the maximum speed limit for trucks from 60 to 65 mph.

. . . the goal is to raise speed limits where 85 percent of drivers are already traveling at higher speeds and will protect motorists from being unnecessarily ticketed in “speed traps.”

It is also thought that less people exceeding the legal speed limit will allow law enforcement to focus on impaired, distracted or careless driving. . .

The bill will go into effect within one year if the study says it is safe. Michigan Approves Higher Speed Limits, Go By Truck Global News, Updated: January 10, 2017

Another article provides further insight:

“Ensuring that all Michiganders are safe while operating vehicles on our state’s roadways is critically important, and these bills allow for appropriately increased speed limits on certain roadways after safety studies are conducted,” Snyder said.

The main bill requires the Michigan Department of Transportation and Department of State Police to raise speed limits to 75 miles per hour on 600 miles of rural, limited-access freeways if a safety and engineering study deems it safe.

The bills also allow for speed limit changes in other areas, including:

  • Speed limits on gravel roads in counties with populations over 1 million would decrease to 45 miles per hour.
  • Up to 900 miles of rural state trunk line highways would see hikes to 65 miles per hour. 75-mph speed limits officially coming to Michigan, By Emily Lawler | elawler@mlive.com
    on January 05, 2017 at 11:47 AM, updated January 05, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Reading the comments to this article reminds me of my goal to revolutionize traffic safety advocacy by mobilizing the citizens of our country to get to the bottom of traffic safety issues and come up with solutions which show more concern for keeping people safe than saving corporate profit or protecting individual rights or relying solely on common sense and a sense of personal responsibility.

And I wonder what will happen when this engineering study is completed. What will Michigan do with the results? What will the rest of the states (and the cities therein) and the federal government do with the results? How will it be compared to traffic fatality statistics which show that speed is a factor in way too many crashes? Will we learn to intentionally design our roadways safer and set speed limits accordingly? Will this impact decision-making on truck speed limiters?

Is it possible that we could become a culture suitably enlightened and motivated to truly make safety a priority? Would a National Traffic Safety Ombudsman work to make sure that this was so?

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