An American Autobahn? California Imagines a Road Without Speed Limits
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An American Autobahn? California Imagines a Road Without Speed Limits

Every day, Americans abide by rules we don’t like. In some states, it is illegal to collect rainwater. (That means collecting water that literally falls from the sky can get you in trouble, how ridiculous is that?)

Also, haven’t we all been tempted at one point in time not to stop at that “STOP” sign in the middle of a country road where no other human is around? For those that do stop, do you stop because you really fear to hit another car in the middle of nowhere, or because a cop car hiding behind the bushes might give you a ticket?

California is considering an experiment in radical freedom, and the two words to justly describe it are fast and furious.

During the first several days of the legislative session in the California State Senate, one senator “introduced a new bill that would create an American autobahn. The proposal titled Senate Bill 319 would allow unlimited speed lanes on two major highways. SB-319 would add two lanes each to the north- and south-bound lanes of I-5 and Highway 99. Those lanes would have no speed limit and allow you to go as fast as you darn well please” according to Brobible.com. Afraid of a road without speed limits? The facts about the Autobahn in Germany might lay those to rest.

The Autobahn in Germany is not necessarily a road-rage free for all, there are “recommended speed limits.” As far as traffic safety is concerned, “A 2008 report from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) looked at 645 road deaths in Germany, and found that 67 percent occurred on highway sections without limits.” That may seem like a reason to oppose an Autobahn here in the US but “60 percent of road deaths in Germany occur on rural roads, not the Autobahn (which is responsible for only 12 percent).”

The general thought is that because of other drivers on the road, speeding drivers will be more cognizant and less likely to do something insanely reckless. According to HG Legal Resources out in California, “Experts essentially split down the middle when it comes to whether they think higher speed limits contribute to traffic accidents and fatalities. In 2000, the Automobile Club of Southern California performed the first in-depth analysis of the effects of higher speed limits in California.

The study showed that higher speed limits set in 1995 and 1996 did not increase the rate of fatal or injury traffic crashes. In fact, actual travel speeds on roads with increased speed limits barely changed. People were already traveling faster than previous speed limits, and once speed limits were altered they generally did not speed faster than their comfort zone.”

Therefore the real question remains: Should states be allowed to develop roads without speed limits? Or is that question a race for another day?

Comment section

1 thought on “An American Autobahn? California Imagines a Road Without Speed Limits

  1. I still remember days when I was young that the posted speed limit in some western, mostly rural, states was “Safe and Reasonable.” In other words, unless you were driving recklessly, you didn’t have to worry about speeding tickets.

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