Why raise the limit?

Jun. 21, 2013 @ 04:43 AM

Let's be honest ….

How many people actually drive the speed limit on North Carolina highways?

The number might be surprisingly low.

But, members of the North Carolina House want to make sure you can drive faster on state highways and interstates.

The bill would raise the speed limit from 70 to 75 on those roadways but only if studies proved the change was safe.

Our question is why?

Why is it necessary to raise the state's speed limit?

Does it bring new jobs to North Carolina? Does it encourage existing business expansion?

We think it is safe to say changing the speed limit on U.S. 74, U.S. 64 or U.S. 221 in Rutherford County will do nothing to increase business or add jobs to the area.

What it has the potential of doing is making our roads more dangerous as it encourages people to drive faster because there is less fear of a violation.

During floor debate on Thursday, Rep. Nelson Dollar, R-Wake, was quoted by the Associated Press as stating that "raising the speed limit will make the effective rate that people drive without fear of getting a violation that much higher."

"We know it's going up to 85 if we do this, but there are a lot of people out there who are not capable of handling those additional speeds," he said.

In the story, Ann McCartt, a senior vice president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, said that there are trade-offs when speed limits are raised.

"The cost is going to be eventually higher speeds, more crashes and more deaths," she said.

While the North Carolina Department of Transportation has not given an official opinion on the matter, the fact remains that only one state on the East Coast — Maine — has a 75 mph limit and that only applies to a remote interstate near the Canadian border.

No other state on the eastern seaboard has deemed it necessary to raise the speed limit. So, we ask why should North Carolina?

The General Assembly should be spending the closing moments of this session focusing on creating jobs and a climate for business that puts residents back to work.

Instead, they are lolly-gagging with legislation that is meaningless and does nothing to help North Carolinians.

House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Mecklenburg, said he wants to close out the session on July 4.

That means there is little time to be wasting time on bills that have no practical common good for the people of North Carolina.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board


The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark