NY Wants Higher Speed Limits: Not Unanimous

IIHS and AAA Against It

Republican Senator Thomas F. O’Mara has freshly introduced a legislative proposal (Senate Bill S2209) with the motive to boost the top speed on some New York highways from 65 mph to 70 mph.

“The majority of states across our country have state speed limits that exceed 65 mph,” reads the justification for the bill. “New York has lagged behind the rest of the nation by not having a speed limit that is higher than 65 mph. This bill would address this issue by allowing for a 70 mph speed limit in areas where it would be appropriate.”

Democrat assemblyperson Angelo Santabarbara acknowledges that today’s cars have more capabilities and are safer than ever before in the history of mankind; however, the IIHS and the AAA think this could make our roads more precarious.

NY proposal to raise speed limit

Chuck Farmer, IIHS vice president of safety research, warned WGRZ-TV, “My advice is not to. Just stick with what you’ve got.” Farmer asserted that if the speed limit is raised to 70, people will push the envelope and drive at 79 or 80 mph, as they may believe that is the new unofficial limit. The New York Times further reported that Jake Nelson, the AAA’s director of traffic safety, stated that this bill is not a “data-driven policy and it’s poor for safety.”

In contrast to the opinion of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety that increased velocity limits consequently result in more accidents and casualties, various investigations, such as one implemented by the Automobile Club of Southern California, have yielded contradictory results, suggesting that greater statewide velocity caps were not conclusively connected to a higher occurrence of smash-ups.

“When New York hiked up highway speeds to 65 mph, the rates of crashes decreased,” stated Patrick Gallivan, a member of the state senate’s transportation committee where the bill is currently in progress. “I’m in favor of increasing the speed limit to 70 mph. This would be done on sections of highways with limited access, which are designed for these types of speeds, and cars are much safer than they ever were.”

In this time where a few motor vehicles have grown bigger and more perilous (hello, GMC Hummer EV), expanding the speed limit might appear to be dangerous, however there is no accord on what would be most advantageous. The U.S. Department of Transportation has a catchphrase known as the 85th percent, which comprises assessing vehicular movement over a 24-hour period and picking the pace at which 85% of the people drive or slower than. Nevertheless, numerous examinations provide inconsistent discoveries, so how likely is it that this legislative bill will pass?

The proposed legislation is without a co-backer and has no corresponding bill; therefore, its chances of being enacted are slim. Even if it were to be ratified, this would only grant the capacity to the Department of Transportation and the State Thruway Authority to augment the velocity limit to 70 mph in locations they deem suitable. Nothing affirms that they will make such a decision.

Curiously, New York has also been exploring necessitating velocity governors in all freshly assembled vehicles. If these procedures were to be sanctioned, it is probable that the eventual hazards bound up with a heighten velocity limitation could be mitigated.

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