Unless you live in Germany with access to the Autobahn or own a private race track, chances are good that you will never have a legitimate reason to travel at speeds faster than the law allows. You may want to travel faster than the speed limit and you may do so regularly, but you probably do not have any reason that the law would consider justifiable. Why then, do automobiles have speedometers that reflect speeds of as much as 120 miles or more per hour?
I don’t really have a good answer for that question. I suspect that high MPH speedometers are appealing to men who equate speed with machismo. On the other side of the spectrum, the possibility of traveling at 120 MPH may also give a sense of comfort to that segment of the population that anticipates a zombie plague and wants to be able to speed away from the armies of the undead. Other than that, there really is no practical need for cars that will travel fifty or more miles over the speed limit.
More than any other group, parents of children who are in their mid to late teen years appreciate the notion that cars can travel to fast. The freedom of the open highway and the power of a high performance vehicle can often be too seductive for a new driver to resist. After promising to follow the traffic laws and to wear a seat belt, Junior will carefully drive down the driveway and down the street, only to accelerate on the highway to 90 MPH. Eventually, fortunate parents find out about Junior’s driving when Junior comes home with a $278 speeding ticket. Less fortunate parents receive a much more traumatic call from a hospital.
Last week, a young man who lives in our community received such a speeding ticket. His parents did not want to risk getting a call from a hospital the next time their son hit the road (which won’t be for a while, in light of the ticket) so they have now put a governor on the car that he drives. The car will no longer travel at speeds in excess of 65 MPH – five miles below the maximum speed limit on our local highways.
I applaud their decision and their action. I also wish EVERY car sold or driven in the United States had to have a governor that limited speeds to 70 MPH, the maximum allowed in the USA (to the best of my knowledge). None of us has any reason to travel faster than the law allows and there are a lot of money saving reasons why we should not exceed the speed limit, for example:
Speeding Tickets are Expensive: Drive over the speed limit and the possibility of getting a speeding ticket are very real. Drive a lot over the speed limit and the charges can be more severe and more costly. In any event, if a driver does not speed, a driver will not get a speeding ticket.
Car Accidents are Even More Expensive: Drivers who exceed the speed limit are much less likely to be able to stop in the event of a sudden decrease in speed from the cars ahead. In chatting with a driving instructor recently, the instructor remarked that the speeders will congregate in a group on the highway. When the lead car slows down, the trailing cars pile up!
Speeders Force Greater Police Presence on Highways: If cars could not speed on highways, we would not need as many highway patrol officers and that would cut down on the need for tax dollars.
Cars Burn Less Fuel at Lower Speeds: The slower people travel, the less fuel that they need to use. That saves money, cuts down fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
What do you think? Should cars and trucks all have governors that prevent highway speeding? If you do not favor governors, how can you justify the need to drive at speeds in excess of the speed limit?