National Maximum Speed Law

Enlarge picture
55 mph speed limit being erected in response to the National Maximum Speed Law. Note the sign below, presumably a 60 or 65 mph truck speed limit.


The National Maximum Speed Law (in the United States) is a provision of the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act[1] that capped all speed limits at 55 mph (90 km/h). This cap was intended to conserve gasoline in response to the 1973 oil crisis. This law was modified in the late 1980s to allow 65 mph (100 km/h) limits. In 1995 it was repealed, returning the power of setting speed limits to the states.

See also:

History

Before the federal speed limit

Historically, the power to set speed limits belonged to the states. Immediately before the National Maximum Speed Law became effective, speed limits were as high as 75 mph (120 km/h).[1] (Kansas had lowered its turnpike speed limit from 80 before 1974.) Montana and Nevada generally posted no numeric speed limit on rural roads.

1974 — 55 mph National Speed Limit

As an emergency response to the 1973 oil crisis, the U.S. Congress and President Nixon imposed a nationwide 55 mph (90 km/h) speed limit in 1974 by requiring the limit as a condition of each state receiving highway funds, a use of the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution[2].

It was also believed that, based on a drop in fatalities the first year the limit was imposed, the 55 mph limit increased highway safety. Later studies were more mixed on this point, and available statistics show that the safety record actually worsened in the first few months of the 55 mph speed limit and further suggest the fatality drop was a short-lived anomaly that regressed to mean by 1978.[3] After the oil crisis abated, the 55 mph speed limit was retained mainly due to the perceived safety aspect.

The 55 mph limit was unpopular, especially in western states that have long distances between cities or points of interest.

The Heritage Foundation claimed that the total fuel savings during the national speed limit was no more than 1% overall.[4]

Nevada's 70 mph "experiment"

On June 1, 1986, Nevada ignored the 55 mph speed limit by posting a 70 mph (110 km/h) limit on a 3 mile (5 km) stretch of Interstate 80. The Nevada statute authorizing this speed limit included language that invalidated itself if the federal government suspended transportation funding. Indeed, the Federal Highway Administration immediately withheld highway funding, so the statute quickly invalidated itself.[5]

1987 and 1988 — 65 mph limit

In the April 2, 1987 Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act, Congress permitted states to raise speed limits to 65 mph (105 km/h) on rural Interstate highways,[6] and in 1988 Congress extended the same 65 mph limit to any rural roads built to Interstate standards even if they were not signed as Interstates (although states had to apply for this privilege).

1995 — Repeal of federal limits

Congress lifted all federal speed limit controls in the November 28, 1995 National Highway Designation Act, fully delegating speed limit authority to the states. Several states immediately reverted to already existing laws. For example, most Texas rural limits that were above 55 mph in 1974 immediately reverted to 70 mph (110 km/h), causing some legal confusion before the new signs were posted. Montana reverted to non-numerical speed limits on most rural highways, although its legislature adopted a 75 mph (120 km/h) limit in 1999 (see the Montana section of speed limits in the United States for more details).

Hawaii was the last state to raise its speed limit above 55 mph when, in response to public outcry after an experiment with road safety cameras in 2002, it raised the maximum speed limit on parts of Interstates H-1 and H-3 to 60 mph.[7]

Reclassified roads

Some roads that weren't Interstate highways but were built to Interstate standards were reclassified as Interstate highways to qualify for the 65 mph speed limit:

Actual conservation and economic effects

The 55 mph limit reduced gasoline consumption by only 1%, and the 1995 repeal of the 55/65 speed limits had a net economic benefit of $2 to $3 billion.[9]

Popular Culture

The 55 mph limit morphed into the popular culture:

External links

References

1. ^ [2]
2. ^ [3]
3. ^ Moore, Stephen (1999-05-31). Speed Doesn't Kill: The Repeal of the 55-MPH Speed Limit 7-9. Cato Institute. Retrieved on 2007-04-19.
4. ^ Copulos, Milton R. (1986-09-09). The High Cost of the 55 MPH Speed Limit. The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved on 2007-04-19.
5. ^ [4]
6. ^ [5]
7. ^ [6]
8. ^ "65 mph approved for route", Wichita Eagle-Beacon, October 24, 1987.
9. ^ Moore, Stephen (1999-05-31). Speed Doesn't Kill: The Repeal of the 55-MPH Speed Limit 7-9. Cato Institute. Retrieved on 2007-08-20.
Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act was a federal bill in the United States, signed on January 2, 1974, that enacted the 55 mph National Maximum Speed Law. [1] States had to agree to the limit if they desired to receive federal funding for highway repair.
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The 1973 oil crisis began in earnest on October 17, 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC, consisting of the Arab members of OPEC plus Egypt and Syria) announced, as a result of the ongoing Yom Kippur War, that they would no longer ship
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speed limit is the maximum speed allowed by law for road vehicles. Speed limits are commonly set and enforced by the legislative bodies of nations or provincial governments, such as countries within the world.
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The 1973 oil crisis began in earnest on October 17, 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC, consisting of the Arab members of OPEC plus Egypt and Syria) announced, as a result of the ongoing Yom Kippur War, that they would no longer ship
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United States Congress

Type Bicameral
Houses Senate
House of Representatives
President of the Senate
President pro tempore Dick Cheney, (R)
since January 20, 2001
Robert C.
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speed limit is the maximum speed allowed by law for road vehicles. Speed limits are commonly set and enforced by the legislative bodies of nations or provincial governments, such as countries within the world.
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Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 of the United States Constitution, known as the Commerce Clause, states that Congress has the exclusive authority to manage trade activities between the states and with foreign nations and Indian tribes.
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Regression toward the mean refers to the fact that those with extreme scores on any measure at one point in time will, for purely statistical reasons, probably have less extreme scores the next time they are tested. Scores always involve a little bit of luck.
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The Heritage Foundation is one of the most prominent conservative think tanks in the United States.] Founded in 1973, it is based in Washington, D.C., in the United States.
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State of Nevada

Flag of Nevada Seal
''Nickname(s): Silver State (official), Sagebrush State,
Battle Born State
''
Motto(s): All For Our Country

Official language(s) English

Capital Carson City

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Main route of the Interstate Highway System

2899.54 mi[1] (0 km)

US 101 in San Francisco, CA

I-5 in Sacramento, CA
I-15 in Salt Lake City, UT
I-25 in Cheyenne, WY
I-29 near Omaha, NE
I-35 near Des Moines, IA
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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," The Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway
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The Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 (Pub. L. 100-17, Apr. 2, 1987, 101 Stat. 132) is a United States Act of Congress, also called the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1987.
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The National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 ( Pub.L. 104-59 , 109 Stat. 568) is a United States Act of Congress that was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 28, 1995.
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State of Texas

Flag of Texas Seal
Nickname(s): Lone Star State
Motto(s): Friendship.
Before Statehood Known as
The Republic of Texas

Official language(s) No official language

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Flag of Montana Seal
Nickname(s): Treasure State, Big Sky Country
Motto(s): Oro y plata (Gold and silver)

Official language(s) English

Capital Helena
Largest city
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Speed limits in the United States are set by each state. Speed limits are usually:
  • 25–30 mph (40–50 km/h) on residential streets
  • 35–45 mph (55–70 km/h) on urban arterial roads

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State of Hawaii
Mokuʻāina o Hawaiʻi


Flag of Hawaii Seal of Hawaii
Nickname(s): The Aloha State

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Road safety camera is a system, including a camera and a vehicle-monitoring device, used to detect and identify vehicles disobeying a speed limit or some other road legal requirement.
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2002 by topic:
News by month
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Interstate H1
Main route of the Interstate Highway System

27.16 mi[1] (0 km)
1953-1959

Route 93 in Kapolei

H-2 in Pearl City, HI
H-201 in Aiea
H-3 in Halawa
Route 72 in Honolulu, HI

Routes in Hawaii


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Interstate H3
Main route of the Interstate Highway System

15.32 mi[1] (0 km)

H-1 in Hālawa, HI

H-201 in Hālawa, HI
Marine Corps Base Hawaii

Routes in Hawaii

Interstate H-3 (abbreviated H-3
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The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," The Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway
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Kansas Turnpike

Maintained by Kansas Turnpike Authority

236 mi[1] (0 km)
October 1956

I-35 near Braman, OK

I-135 in Wichita
I-35 near Emporia
I-70 in Topeka
I-70/US 40/US 69 in Kansas City
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Interstate 335
Auxiliary route of the Interstate Highway System
Maintained by KDOT

50.13 mi[1] (0 km)
1987

I-35/US 50 in Emporia, KS

I-470 in Topeka, KS

List of Kansas numbered highways
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Interstate 88
Primary route of the Interstate Highway System

140 mi (0 km)
1988

Interstate 80 near Moline, IL

Interstate 39 in Rochelle, IL Interstate 294 in Hinsdale, IL
Interstate 290 near Chicago, IL


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Illinois Route 5

Maintained by IDOT

20 mi (0 km)
1972[1]

U.S. Route 67 in Rock Island

Interstates 80/88,
Illinois Route 92 in Silvis
Rock Island

Moline

Illinois state highway system
< ILL 4
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