I’ve seen and read a few articles from several news outlets that Michigan is proposing to increase driving speeds on interstate highways. It turns out that Senator Jones is already putting a proposal together to do just that. Based on the comments on message boards, it easy to tell this is going to be a highly contested and debated topic. If you have done alot of driving on Michigan highways, you already know that you can be doing 80 miles per hour and still get blown by a majority of other cars on the road. While this is certainly worse in some areas than others, I feel that Michigan traffic speeds are already much higher than most other states in the country. What effect a change like this will have it yet to be seen.
The proposed legislation also calls for “speed tests” on the major highways as a requirement and will also offer these tests to any community who is looking to find the safest driving speed for their area. I couldn’t find out any information about how they conduct these tests, but I assume it can’t be too complex if they are willing to conduct them for free. Rick Jones has this to say about these tests….”This is the best way to post speed and it’s the safest. Some cities post speed limits artificially low. For example, streets that should be 35 or 40 mph are posted at 25 and then they order the officers to write tickets to raise revenue, it’s time that this abuse of citizens is stopped.”
While I certainly agree that some cities post absurdly low speed limits to increase revenue, I don’t see what that has to do with raising the speed limits on interstate highways. The real question here is how will drivers react to an increased highway speed. Will they continue to drive whatever speed is comfortable? Will they simply drive 10 miles per faster than before making it around 90 miles per hour? Can Michigan roads hold up the increased stress? Will this change actually improve traffic congestion? Will it cause more auto accidents?
I think another major issue that hasn’t really been discussed is the trucking speed limit. Having a large difference in speeds between cars and trucks is just asking for trouble in my opinion. Its already bad enough on highways like I-94, I can imagine some dangerous scenarios with the large gap in speed limits. There are many questions to be answered and regardless of the final decision made, I hope we make an informed decision that will benefit the actual residents of Michigan.