Speed limits are enacted by State government and determine the maximum speed at which vehicles can be driven in an area, region, or state. Capping the limit of speed on an area leads to safety and road accidents are avoided to great extent. However, speed limit can vary for each type of vehicle as well, depending on the potential risk the vehicle has on the road. Enforced by local police, driving the vehicles above the posted speed limit can result in a ‘ticket,’ or fine, and even in some cases jail terms.
The history of speed limits dates back to the 19th century. It was first enforced in the United Kingdom at a time when horse-drawn carriages dominated the streets. The United Kingdom Stage Carriage Act of 1832 was the first act that put forth the offense of endangering a person or passenger’s safety by indulging in furious driving. The numeric speed limits were also first introduced by the UK in 1861 and the maximum speed limit was 10 mph (16km/h). Between 1865 and 1896, the maximum speed at which locomotives could travel in populated areas was 2 mph, while in relatively sparsely populated areas they had the luxury to drive at 4mph. On January 28th, 1896, Walter Arnold broke the law by driving his ‘car’ at a “dangerously” high speed of 8 mph and he had to pay a fine of around one shilling for dangerous driving.
The advancements in automobile technology during the last 150 years has led to a dramatic increase in the speed of vehicles. Today in many parts of the world, the speed limits can reach more than 100 mph. Many countries strictly enforce speed limits, and the United States is no exception. The US takes speed limits quite seriously, and those who break the law pay hefty fines. However, the speed limits are not uniform across the county.
In some states, it may go as high as 85 mph, while in others a speed of just 55 mph is set. In Washington D.C, the capital of the United States, the speed limit has been set at 55 mph, while in Hawaii, the maximum speed at which vehicles can be driven is 60 mph. In Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont, vehicles cannot be driven at a speed of more than 65 mph.
Most states have set the speed limit at 70 mph. Some of these are California, Florida, Ohio, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Oregon, Maryland, Pennsylvanian, Georgia, among others. States like Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Washington State will allow drivers to drive at a maximum speed of 75 mph. The speed limit has been set at 80 mph in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. The maximum speed limit can be found in the ‘Lone Star State,’ of Texas. Here the maximum speed limit has been set at 85 mph.
The table below provides information on the maximum speed limit in each state of the US and Washington D.C.
|New Jersey||65 mph|
|New York||65 mph|
|Rhode Island||65 mph|
|New Hampshire||70 mph|
|North Carolina||70 mph|
|South Carolina||70 mph|
|West Virginia||70 mph|
|Maine Maine||75 mph|
|New Mexico||75 mph|
|North Dakota||75 mph|
|South Dakota||80 mph|
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