Readers Sound Off on 70 MPH Speed Limit

Patch readers have plenty to say about a bill being considered by Maryland lawmakers that would allow speed limits on interstates to increase to 70 mph.

Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow speed limits on interstate to increase to 70 mph. File|Patch
Maryland lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow speed limits on interstate to increase to 70 mph. File|Patch

A bill approved by the Maryland House that would raise the speed limit on expressways and Interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph has Patch readers talking.

The bill was unanimously passed in the Maryland House, and now goes to the Senate, reports The Baltimore Sun. The change would apply to parts of the federal interstate highway system and limited-access highways such as the Intercounty Connector.

It’s not a done deal that the bill will win passage, which must still be approved by the Senate and signed into law by the governor. But our story has received 50 comments so far.

Some readers worry that increasing the speed limit would boost the accident rate and waste gasoline. Others say that drivers will pay more attention if they drive faster, taking a page from Germany's autobahn, which has no posted limit in many sections, yet is comparatively accident-free.

Here's a sampling of what readers think about the proposal.

Mark: "Roads in Maryland are in the worst condition. I recently returned from a trip down North Carolina and everyone in the left lane also known as the fast/passing lane would get over immediately when they saw someone coming...however on Maryland no one will get over even if you tail them for miles(idiots) no one will use their blinker."

Buck Harmon: "Solutions are very rare, that's the reason that the cycle of playing with speed limits will continue...no big deal either way."

skip hall: "Having lived in Texas until recently, I can say that a higher speed limit is long overdue in Maryland. From central Texas to San Antonio the speed limit is 85mph, accidents are almost unheard of on that route, people tend to pay more attention to what they are doing at that speed and the stats prove it. It would be nice to see Maryland go back to the pre gas crisis speed limits."

Robin L. Brodkin: "Right now people drive 70-80 with a 65 MPH. Make it 70 & they'll drive 80-90. This does include the gas saved and lives that'll be lost with the increased speed limit. Leave well enough alone!!"

VisciousInMD: "
I drive on the autobahns of Germany every summer, especially between Frankfurt and Munich. They DO NOT have more enforcement and patrolling that we do. … What they DO have is less volume, more driver discipline regarding staying out of the passing lane, and consistent of speeds. ... To those that think 70 is too fast, please, take a bus or call a cab or something."

Blvd Bruce: "It's about time they raise the limit. Just my opinion."

Martin Layman: "They need to spend some of the lottery or casino money to fix the roads before they raise the speed limits. … Is raising the speed limit an answer? No, the answer is widening the roads so they can accommodate the flow of traffic and better road design, properly banked turns, you are just going to kill more people if you raise the speed limit."

Pam Hamburg"Raise it to 70 mph. Start ticketing slow drivers who deliberately hog the left lane. … Another pet peeve of mine is two big rigs having a 'drag race' and hogging both lanes."

Sara: "Absolutely this is a good idea. It's bad drivers that kill, not the speed alone. 55 mph is way too slow and that creates more dangerous conditions because you have such a variety of speeds between the lanes."

What do you think? Could Maryland drivers handle a 70 mph speed limit? Tell us in comments.
Diane in Odenton February 24, 2014 at 02:49 PM
Michael -- I don't like it either when someone is speeding and comes up behind me, tailgating like crazy and trying to intimidate me, but your kind of attitude is one that contributes to a lot of accidents. Yes, the other person may be in the wrong and yes they are breaking the law, but is it really worth it to be "right" and then have an accident occur? Because the other driver has already demonstrated that they're not interested in safe driving, so you just don't know what maneuver they'll try. Just move over and let the jerk go by for crying out loud.
DAK4Blizzard February 24, 2014 at 05:03 PM
I think the speed limit should be raised to 70 mph to better match the speed in free-flow conditions. The design of the road and traffic conditions are the dominant factors in how fast people drive, not speed limit. It explains why some state and local governments have resorted to speed cameras to try to keep speeds in check, or in my opinion using the superior but unprofitable option of curb extensions and lane narrowing, and why hills often have a greater impact on traffic speed. Also, the law should reflect that the left lane be used as a passing lane. The speed limit in the left lane should not be enforced. I would rather see drivers in the left lane pulled over when failing to pass cars while below the speed limit. An exception I think should be within construction zones, and that is one case where I'm okay with cameras, which allow a threshold of 11 mph over the limit. The other exception should be exceeding a general threshold, by at least 20 if not 30 mph over, when drivers obeying the speed limit won't have a fair/safe amount of time to account for such fast drivers, and when the reaction time (especially at curves) gets too low.
Rand February 24, 2014 at 06:36 PM
Mooney, you are one of those unpaid traffic enforcers that get into the left lane oblivious to the world! You myopic reasoning is clearly all about you. You think if someone is trying to get around you and you are going the speed limit that makes it ok not to move over. You don't know that there might be a pregnant woman trying to get to the hospital where time is of the essences, or someone who has been notified that someone is trying to break into a home with scared children in it waiting for their parents to arrive or any number of other emergencies arise. You are going to maintain your position in that left lane come hell or high water. I can say, I hope we never meet on the highway. Go calculate your gas savings!
Scott Wilson February 24, 2014 at 07:21 PM


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