Thursday 2nd April 1987
The United States Government allowed individual states to increase the speed limit on rural roads from 55 mph to 65 mph. The move opened the forum for legislation that would, over the next decade, dramatically increase the speed limits observed on our country’s roads. Since 1973, when Richard Nixon set a federal maximum speed limit of 55 mph, no cars were allowed to exceed this speed. After 1987, many states raised maximum speed limits to 75 mph. Nevada and Montana observe a policy of “reasonable speed” wherein drivers are urged to use speed prudently, but are not held to a numerical speed limit. The debate over the safety of increased speed limits rages on. Many hold that increased speed limits translate directly into increased numbers of highway fatalities. Other advocacy groups claim that higher speed limits actually diminish the rate of accidents by thinning out traffic. Both groups use well-presented statistics to bolster their causes.