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.
Ateeq Afzal says
I agree with your statements for the most part it’s just that nobody else wants to believe this
Justin Stenstrom says
Yeah, you’re right about that.
I don’t think we need a three-tiered speed limit system, rather what we need is to eliminate the upper speed limit that tells us we can’t drive OVER a certain speed and institute a minimum speed limit which drivers are not allowed to drive UNDER or else they get ticketed. I say get ticketed twice for driving under the speed limit and your license is revoked permanently because it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that said person has no more business being behind the wheel than an infant because they clearly have terrible driving skills. THEY are the people who cause inordinate problems on the highways, the assholes who drive 15 or 20 mph under the speed limit as they cause traffic to back up behind them, cause unnecessary road rage and frequently cause someone to get impatient and pass them in a no-passing zone and cause a head-on collision.
All that would be avoided if that stupid piece of shit driving 15 mph under an absurdly low speed limit wasn’t on the road in the first place. People like that, the ones who will sit at a stop sign for ten minutes until they literally cannot see another car on the road in either direction without a telescope before they will go (usually with a merge lane available they COULD have used the whole effing time! I see it every day and it drives me nuts!) People with that little confidence in their own driving ability have that little confidence for a reason: because they are shit at driving and know they have no business being on the road.
So what you do is you eliminate the “upper” speed limit that tells drivers they aren’t allowed to go OVER a certain speed and you institute a “minimum” speed limit that drivers aren’t allowed to go UNDER and you ticket the hell out of the people driving under the speed limit and after 2 tickets you permanently revoke their license. And you don’t ticket drivers going as fast as they want to go as common sense will tell you these are people who are good enough drivers and have enough confidence in their own driving ability to be able to safely go that fast.
Otherwise, what we have is a speed limit that is based around the lowest common denominator, the stupid piece of shit who sits at a stop sign for 10 minutes and drives 15 mph under an absurdly low speed limit. In other words we’re basing our speed limit on the lack of driving skills of people who have no business being on the road in the first effing place! Combine that with a more stringent driving test and you’ll weed out the people who shouldn’t be on the road, leaving the highways to people who (gasp!) can actually drive cars better than toddlers can. Otherwise, the way it is now is inconveniencing everyone who actually BELONGS on the roads to benefit people who shouldn’t be driving anyway!
I completely agree with no speed limit for the people who are capable. The WORST is when it’s apparent that you are trying to get around that asshat going well below the limit, they realize you want by and then they go out of their way to keep you blocked in. This just happened to me driving home. My rage was blowing gauges, naturally. Why do some people feel this is an acceptable response to your desire to pass them? I just don’t understand….it boggles the mind. I have never once been in an accident and I speed like crazy. It’s exactly as you earlier stated, I am on high alert for everyone else. I drive extremely fast, that does not mean I am not also extremely vigilant. Nicely worded both of you!
Austin jackson says
Ive been saying this for years and me and my dad talk about it all the time. I even thought of the teir system too!
Justin Stenstrom says
It’s a genius idea man! Great minds think alike.
Austin jackson says
Also, my driving instructor during drivers ed. Years ago was a police officer. And he said you should always go 5mph over the speed limit. That simply proves that the speed limit means nothing. So why don’t we fix the system. But no one wants to truly realize how dumb it really is.
When there are no speed limits, people tend to.pay more attention to their driving instead of the speedometer or looking for speed limit signs of speed traps & law enforcement! This needs to be lobbied for. I’m I believe Wyoming they had no speed limit during the day & in the last few months before they added a speed limit compared to the first few months of having a speed limit, the accident rate was drastically higher with speed limits!!
Justin Stenstrom says
Will Jobson says
I’ve read this article multiple times now and am currently writing a paper over this very topic. I have a few issues with how you state your thoughts about the three-tiered systems for drivers. First, how would officers know which tier a driver would be in? There would have to be a sticker or something on the car and also a corresponding symbol on the driver’s license. That being said there would have to be a device in the car that you put your license into for the image to appear on the rear of the car some where. Second you would then have to replace all the speed limit signs on the interstate with new ones for each tier system. Wisconsin changed all there speed limit signs from 65 mph to 70 mph on 810 miles of highway which as roughly 470 sighs in total which cost them $134,000. In the US there are 164,000 miles of highway and with those numbers I calculated the total cost to replace all the speed limit signs on highways to be $80,583,205.29 respectively. To note highways in the United States only make up 21% or roads. Now I do not know if this system would be on ever single road in America but I assume that this would only be on highways. It is a good system in theory but just not a particle way to handle the speed issue. I am totally on your side with this though. I go 20+ on the interstate all the time but this implication would never happen.
The signs need replacement from time to time anyway, making the cost much less in the real-world.
An even better idea, is simple traffic-ticket immunity to good drivers that don’t cause at-fault accidents.
I’ve proposed that after 10 years of at-fault accident-free driving, you be given full immunity from traffic tickets. IF they mistakenly pull you over, they have to let you go with a warning, or if they mistakenly write you a ticket, it is automatically dismissed upon review of your driving record.
You could turn this into a tiered system as well, with “some” limited benefits between years 5-9 going at-fault accident free. Also, “not at fault” collisions should be like a 1/3 point ding. You can’t avoid all of them, but if you get into a lot of them, there might be more than bad luck involved!
This system is the best idea because it naturally self-regulates. Drive stupid, and you’ll cause wrecks, and you won’t have the same benefits for up to 10 years. People will take the benefits seriously.
Justin Stenstrom says
Wow! Absolutely love this idea. Great job man.
The most arrogant and contradictive spulge of words I’ve ever known! Why the HELL are you more entitled to driving fast over any other person? I’m sorry you have no facts or evidence whatsoever to support your claims that you have more right at going 95mph over a teenager or an old lady bullshit argument.
Justin Stenstrom says
I have more right because I have an impeccable driving record dipshit.
I’d actually be in favor of making speeding a secondary offense and changing speed limits to suggested speeds. That would remove the fear of cop car response as well as the “the speed limit is 55 so I’m gonna sit in the left lane going 55 so no one can speed.” Issue as well.
If your speed causes an accident than you deserve a fine for driving too fast for road conditions.
But overall speed limits are pretty useless.
i agree for sure
I had to use this article for English class and the one thing our whole class noticed was how self-righteous you are. Using the fact that you haven’t been in an incident as a reason why you’re a better driver is just ridiculous. It just means you’re lucky. As you said yourself, other bad drivers can still cause an incident, without you making a single mistake. You also confirmed everyone’s stereotype about Americans thinking their country is the best. Seriously curious what the “number of profound reasons” are that apparently support your statement. Last thing I wanted to add is that when you raise the speed limit by 50%, driving times will reduce by a fourth, they won’t be cut in half.
I was elected to write this to you, so just know it isn’t just me that thinks this way.
Justin Stenstrom says
I love how you have to spend money on a class to talk about what I’m writing. That is hilarious. Which country or state do you live in that’s so wonderful and combs through my articles? I got plenty of others you can go through and would love a debate. Maybe you can get me in touch with your teacher/professor. Will be writing some more articles she can dish out to you guys.