55 MPH

The 55 mph speed limit has effected not only a reduction in speed but also in accidents and fuel consumption. In the first part of 1974, speeds checked on 55 mph limit roads showed a compliance rate of not quite 50 percent; average speed ranged from 52 to 63 mph. A check in March 1974 revealed an upward trend from two to four miles per hour. An important traffic characteristic of the reduced speed limit is the range in observed speeds; there is less of a difference between upper and lower speed limits. Also there has been an increase of cars in "pace". Traffic moving at an even speed results in fewer accidents. This was particularily true on rural roads and principal highways. In the first six months of 1974 fatalities had dropped 23 percent from a corresponding period in 1973. The drop was approximately the same in both urban and rural areas. The drop in accident rates also corresponds to a drop in travel. Two fuel conservation measures are apparent: reduced speed and reduced travel, while the savings in fuel is easily pinpointed there are many factors that caused the reduction in speed and in accidents. There must be a re-examination of the procedures and concepts used in determining speed limits, speed limits must be safe yet realistic.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Highway Users Federation for Safety and Mobility

    1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC  USA  20036
  • Authors:
    • Rankin, W W
  • Publication Date: 1974-9

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00080642
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Feb 27 1975 12:00AM