Highway speeds have been in great debate in New Hampshire over the last few months. A bill was introduced and passed in the House which would raise the speed limit on I-93 from Exit 18 to the Vermont Border to 70mph instead of 65mph. It would remain the same through Franconia Notch however. The House rejected a proposal to raise the speed limit to 75mph. The bill is now in front of the Senate.
Driving 65mph on any highway highlights the rampant problem of speeding. For those of us driving the speed limit, we are often passed by other vehicles which are going faster or run the risk of being rear-ended by a driver who is following too closely behind us. Speeding has become the norm rather than a social problem. Most people who rally for obeying the speed limits are the same people who would be ticketed for speeding themselves. Like in the days before drunk driving laws were passed, most people considered themselves “social drinkers” and would not equate themselves as drunk drivers. The same seems to hold true for “social speeders.” We need to change the perception of speeding.
First, what is speeding? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines speeding as traveling too fast for conditions. In addition to exceeding the posted speed limit, this definition would also include vehicles traveling under the speed limit but still too fast for conditions such as an icy road. Going too fast for conditions can cause a driver to lose control and crash.
It is estimate by the USDOT that between 30 and 33 percent of all fatal crashes can be attributed to speeding. A tragic example of a fatal crash occurred over the weekend. A motorcyclist was speeding in Merrimack and had been pulled over by police. He was clocked as going 86 mph. After the traffic stop, he continued on his journey and when he came up on exit 4 on 293, he lost control of his motorcycle and crashed. He was taken to Catholic Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Also this week, a man was charged with a felony of reckless conduct and criminal mischief, and misdemeanor charges of disobeying a police officer and endangering the welfare of a child when he attempted to evade police who were trying to pull him over after clocking him at 90 mph on I-93 South near Exit 6. His girlfriend’s 2 year old daughter was in the back seat. The man tried to get on 293 northbound and take exit 2 when he collided with a Honda Civic occupied by a woman and a girl. The man, the 2 year old and the driver of the Honda Civic all had to be treated at the hospital. It is a miracle that this collision did not result in any fatalities.
If we as a community do not do something to stop excessive speeding, any one of us could be the next fatal crash victim. None of our roads will be safe. Additionally, the social costs of speeding-related crashes are astronomical. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates the economic cost to society for speeding-related crashes is $40.4 billion a year! That is $76,865 every minute or $1,281 every second. Please share this article if you agree that excessive speeding must be stopped.
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