75 mph speed limit sign. Photo via Flickr user CountyLemonade/CC2.0Enlarge Photo
If you're a fan of driving fast (legally) on the interstate, you're generally going to prefer states west of the Mississippi--except, now, for one small part of Maine.
Why? Because a section of Interstate 95 in the northeastern corner of the state today bumped up the limit from 65 mph to 75 mph. That's still nothing like the super-speeder interstates you'll find in the west, but it's an improvement.
Only 110 miles of I95 are subject to the increase, however, and though the law passed today, it won't actually come into effect for motorists until the new signs are posted along the route, according to the Boston Herald.
So why did Maine decide to push the speed limit 10 mph higher along this stretch? Because it's a long, relatively unpopulated stretch with nothing but trees passing by--and because that's how fast most people are already going anyway. The Maine Transportation Department commissioned a study and found that 85 percent of drivers were traveling the route at 74-75 mph. That 85 percent figure is critical, because that's how the department decides its speed limits, seeking to match the behavior of the majority.
The IIHS thinks physics should reign over the matter; as speeds go up, so does the potential energy of any crash. The DOE also agrees, again according to the Boston Herald, as going faster than 60 mph costs more fuel.
That sort of thinking would have us all staying at home and sending our cars to the scrapyard if taken to its logical conclusion, so we're glad common sense has prevailed in this case.
Photo via Flickr user CountyLemonade, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0