Some people say I’m a speed demon. Some people say I have a lead foot. Some people say I drive like a nut. I, however, just like to think I like to get where I’m going fast. Really fast.
Just because I prefer going fast, it doesn’t mean I’m not careful. In fact, I’m more careful than probably any other driver I know. I may go 20 or so miles over the speed limit on any given highway, but I do so with great care. I don’t recklessly break the speed limit, I calculatingly traverse the roads.
I slow down in interactions (in case an irresponsible driver blows through a stop sign), tap the brakes when I see a car backing out of a driveway (in case they do not see me coming), and I give pedestrians all the space they need to walk on the edge of the road or even sidewalk (in case they veer off course). I always anticipate the worst and prepare my car for the thoughtless actions of others. When I drive, especially when fast, I’m always on high-alert.
This fact is no better evidenced than by my pristine driving record. That’s right, in the 8+ years of driving “like a nut,” I’ve never once gotten into an accident.
Look, I’m not saying all people should be doing 90 MPH on the freeway. Elderly grandmas and immature teenagers do not deserve nor warrant that right. What I am proposing, is that drivers, like myself, with clean and immaculate driving histories, and a knack for going fast, should not be held to the same standards as our less-than-capable counterparts.
No, instead of penalizing the best drivers in our society, we should reward them!
There should be some sort of tiered system. Perhaps a 3-tiered system of driving classes (or levels). There should be a low (relatively speaking) speed limit for the elderly, the teenagers, and the terrible. An average speed limit for most of the population, and most of the drivers. And finally, a fast speed limit for the best drivers in our land . . . uhh hmm . . . (throat clear) like me!
If you think something like a 3-tiered system for speed limits is a bad idea, and that we don’t have to change our speed laws, you’re wrong.
Here are 10 reasons why:
1. We Would Save Time!
Do you know how much time is wasted driving in a car every year? 487 hours. That’s how much. Instead of wasting our valuable lives behind the wheels of our sedans and coupes, we should be out enjoying life. If we were able to go 50% faster on our highways, we’d cut 50% of our driving times in half. That’s 243 hours we’d potentially gain back each year.
2. Other Countries Have Had Success With Faster Speed Limits
Other countries have adopted this speed-up attitude. Why? Because it works. As great as America is, and it’s still the greatest country in the world for a number of profound reasons, it still lags behind in the operations-of-motorized-vehicles department. Countries like Germany (in the Autobahn) have unlimited speed limits and they’ve seen the success that it brings. Their accidents are down, their citations are down, and their citizens are happier because of it.
3. Tiered Qualification Systems Are Used Everywhere
From karate to baseball to our school system, tiered, hierarchical systems are used everywhere. Why? Because they work. Karate has them in place so that black belts don’t pummel to death novice white belts. Baseball has tiered systems in place so that Minor Leaguers don’t face much more talented and skilled Major Leaguers. Our school system has a hierarchy of qualification so that our children must complete one level of schooling before they can partake in the next. Can you imagine a 1st grader trying to do college-level geometry?
Just like not everyone can hit a Major League fastball, not everyone can drive 95 MPH safely, or even at all.
4. Less Traffic Tickets
Nobody likes paying for speeding tickets. It’s probably one of the most frustrating things on the planet. Not only this, but having police officers constantly pulling people over on the highways for speeding causes more accidents and more traffic.
When most people see a cop, they jam on their brakes instinctively. They don’t want to get ticketed, so they innately slow down fast, only the person behind them isn’t quite prepared so they rear-end them and cause an accident.
Also, when a patrolman is pulling someone over, they take up the break-down lane and the right lane as well, leaving only two lanes for people to maneuver around. And, to top it off, people driving by slow down in fear they will be pulled over (and also to glance over and see what is going on). The effect—you guessed it—more traffic!
By raising the speed limits most people (just about everyone) wouldn’t have to worry about being pulled over for speeding. A patrolman on the side of the highway wouldn’t even be an after-thought. Instead, cars would safely cruise by at secure, yet faster speeds, and keep traffic going smoothly.
Less traffic, less tickets, less accidents—I think I’ll take that.
5. There Would Be Less Accidents
When people are clogged up, i.e. people are going slow, are in the fast lane going slow, or are driving alongside vehicles next to them, accidents occur. When people are passing others in the fast lane and going at speeds that allow them to do this, traffic flows. But by keeping everyone at the same general speed, traffic increases. And when this happens, accidents occur!
Speed things up and see fewer accidents.
6. Speed Limits Have Remained (Relatively) The Same
Although cars and their safety have improved exponentially since the advent of automobiles back in 1886, speed limits have remained relatively comparable. Aside from a few increases over the years, the speed limit after Nixon made the national speed limit 55 MPH in 1974 has gone up just 10 more miles for the majority of states.
As a reference point, our technology has doubled almost every year since 1965 according to Moore’s Law. We’re no longer driving Model Ts or Pintos anymore. Our cars are very safe and can travel at incredible speeds with absolute control. They are safer than ever, and can safely traverse in speeds in the high triple digits. Our Stone-Age speed regulations no longer fit the 21st century maturity of our finely-tuned vehicles. It’s time for a change.
7. Good Drivers Should Be Rewarded
Drivers who show a history of being good drivers should be rewarded for this. I hate to beat this sentiment to death, but not everyone should have the same limits. Some people are better at certain things. I know I can’t draw, golf, swim, or fix cars very well. Should I be a painter, professional golfer, Olympic swimmer, or mechanic? Absolutely not! I’d be terrible in all these departments.
Although a bit of a stretch, the same concept applies here. Some people just aren’t that great at driving, and they should not be held to the same standards as those who are. Those who are, should be given a little more in the way of reward.
8. Everyone Has Different Skill Levels
I don’t mean to offend anyone in this article but let’s face it: your granny can’t drive as good as me! Not only do I hold a flawless driving record, but I also own and operate a motorcycle. I am physically fit, I have perfect 20/20 vision, I am unbelievably athletic and coordinated . . . and I’m in my physical and mental prime.
Call me crazy, but I do believe I warrant a little more respect on the road than a 90-year-old lady who can barely see and who’s scared to even go on the highway.
9. There Would Be Much Less Traffic
Don’t we all hate traffic? I know I do. Well, by simply boosting the speed limit up by say 10 MPH for every tiered class, there would much less traffic on the roads. It’s pretty simple: less driving time for people equals fewer cars on the road.
So instead of 65 MPH being the upper limit for everyone, 75 MPH would be the upper limit for the worst drivers, 85 MPH the upper limit for the average driver, and yes, 95 MPH would be the limit for the best drivers. Keep in mind, these are all limits.
Before you lose your cool, consider this: no longer would people regularly be breaking the speed limit by going 70 on the freeway. They would be safely traveling within their range. They wouldn’t have to worry about breaking any laws or getting any infractions. But if they do go beyond their ascribed boundary, then by all means, expect them to be penalized by the deepest facets of the law. I’d even suggest doubling the speeding fines to better enforce them in this system.
10. Speed Doesn’t Cause Accidents
Speed doesn’t cause accidents, inattentiveness does. It’s that simple. Speed is not the culprit of accidents, bad driving and not paying attention is. Just because someone goes a few miles faster on the highway, it doesn’t mean they are creating any more danger than the guy going 60 MPH in the middle lane.
If anything, the guy going 60 is doing more harm because he’s slowing things down and potentially causing people to jam on their brakes (When’s the last time somebody drove 60 on the highway anyway? It’s rare to see anyone going under 70 MPH.)
There you have it. The 10 reasons why we have to get rid of our speed limit as it is today. Perhaps a 3-tiered system like the one above would be great. Perhaps you can think of something similar but more effective. Whatever it may be, there’s really no doubt, what we have today is just not effective.
If you agree with me please comment and let me know. If you don’t, tell me why and what you suppose might be better. I’m not saying my way is without flaw, but it’s much better than what we have now.