The first speed limit in the United States was enacted in 1901 by the state of Connecticut, who declared it was illegal to travel faster that 12 miles per hour on the highway.

Good Transportation magazine wrote an article titled “You Can Drive 55” highlighting the ties between speedy drivers and the steady rise of oil consumption in the the United States. The article also looks at the whiplash law enacted by the government instituting a national speed limit; the law was retracted in the 90’s.

Driving at increasingly faster speeds is not only a safety issue, it also adds to a heightening amount of carbon emissions, and decreases fuel efficiency.

Tim Castleman, a California native, has created a campaign entitled “Drive 55” with the hope that we as a nation can lessen our dependency on foreign oil. “The Department of Energy has estimated that, at most, a national speed limit of 55 mph would save 100 million barrels of oil annually; the United States currently consumes 21 million barrels per day.”

When I was in Germany earlier this summer, I experienced the sweet adrenaline rush from the infamous autobahn. The speed and the sounds of a powerful motor can tempt anyone into hitting the gas pedal to the floor. Because I am usually a grandma behind the wheel, the rare treat of pushing 120 mph (legally of course) was well worth the CO2.

However, I am of the opinion that top speeds should be reserved for birthdays and vacations. Stepping into the habit of driving 55 mph could greatly improve our quality of daily life.

Drive safe,

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