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steering wheel speeding car blurWhen it comes to driving, are you a slow-lane sort of person, or do you immediately head to the left and make everyone else eat your dust?

Now comes word that Maine is about to become the only state east of the Mississippi River to legalize a 75-mile-an-hour speed limit. Starting Tuesday, October 4, locals and travelers heading to Canada can take advantage of the power boost on a lonely stretch of Interstate 95 in the far northern reaches of the state, from Old Town to Houlton.

According to a Reuters report, the 110-mile stretch of asphalt “could handle the increase from an engineering standpoint, and … studies showed most people were already driving comfortably at 74 to 75 miles per hour there.”

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While Maine may be the first Eastern state to okay a 75 m.p.h. speed limit, it’s not a ground-breaker. A number of Western states also top out at 75 m.p.h., while Texas allows 85 m.p.h. on some segments.

The legislation, which flew through the Maine legislature, was introduced by Representative Alexander Willette, who said that his constituents had been nagging him about making the change. “Their main reasoning is, everyone is traveling 75 anyway and they are already not getting pulled over,” he told Reuters. “Why not make it official?”

I’ll tell you why not: If you can tell people they can go 75, then they’ll go 85. I’ve driven through that area a number of times, and I agree it’s a long, straight, boring haul. But if people weren’t routinely getting pulled over, why give them the (indirect) license to go faster? Does anyone really think that 85 or 90 m.p.h. won’t now be the norm?

Enter the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Anne Fleming, who holds the same view. As she told the Associated Press: “People do pay attention to speed limits. Whatever they’re flying along at, whenever they raise the speed limit, they fly along faster.” Furthermore, she said higher speeds often lead to more (and worse) accidents.

So what do you think? Vote in our poll or speak up in the comments.

— written by John Deiner

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One Response to “New Speed Limit in Maine: How Fast Is Too Fast?”

  1. bryan says:

    Before making silly statements…do research. Evidence clearly shows that increasing the speed limit just makes traffic flow smoother, it doesn’t make people go faster overall.

    You get two roads in the same town, lets say residential ‘main roads’…one is 40 because its a county rd., the other one is 25 because the people who live on it complained and its local.

    People are going 40 on both of them. They aren’t going 50 on the 40 mph road because most people aren’t unreasonable.

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