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85 mph

Posted: September 13, 2012 7:50 a.m.
Updated: September 12, 2012 5:00 a.m.

Don’t be surprised if some member of the S.C. General Assembly reads of the new 85-mile-an-hour speed limit in Texas and decides that would be a good idea for the Palmetto State. We hope that won’t happen, but we’ll never be flabbergasted at any proposal that includes a higher driving speed, which to some lawmakers equates with motherhood and apple pie.

The Lone Star State just instituted the new limit for a section of road under construction there. Prior to that decision, Texas already allowed 80 miles an hour on a couple sections of highway, the highest speed limits in the country save for a few places in Utah. With the new, higher limit, Texans will be zooming along at velocities that are difficult in almost any conditions.

There’s something about speed that captures the attention of officials, whether appointed or elected. Back in the 1970s, federal officials mandated a national 55-mile-an-hour speed limit on interstate highways, a snail-like pace that was roundly ignored. That foolish move was made ostensibly to wring better fuel mileage from vehicles and to lessen the dependence on foreign oil. We all know how well that worked.

South Carolina has a reasonable 70-mile-an-hour limit on most interstates and controlled-access highways. What that means, of course, is that many people actually drove closer to 80 miles an hour, as troopers allow a “grace limit” before they pull people over for violations. In Texas, that will mean drivers will be exceeding 90 in many instances. It’s hard to imagine anyone deeming that safe.

If anyone in South Carolina proposes upping the state’s limit, we hope that suggestion will meet a quick death.


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