State legislators, in a dereliction of their duty, handed off their responsibility to enact speed limit laws to a state agency, the Department of Transportation.

The DOT then significantly raised speed limits on the state’s interstate highways, basing its decision on the speed at which violators now drive, but apparently without considering the impact on all law-abiding citizens.

For example, gasoline and diesel engines require more fuel to maintain higher speeds, causing more air pollution for all of us. The state population is saturated with clueless distracted drivers talking on cell phones and texting. These drivers do not maintain their speed nor stay in their lane, thus creating a hazard to all other drivers.

Older drivers with years of driving experience often have vision, hearing and response time changes that induce them to drive more carefully and at lower speeds.

The same careless drivers who now speed along in trains in the passing lane, following too closely, will do the same, but now at speeds 10 or 15 miles per hour higher than the new posted speed limits. Older drivers will continue to drive at a slower speed at which they are comfortable.

Speed kills, since reaction time diminishes with higher speed. Now, with higher speed limits, an even greater disparity in speeds between slower and much faster traffic, the danger of violent crashes will increase significantly.

Speeders commonly ignore the old speed limit by 5 or 10 miles per hour. That won’t change. So most drivers will now be going 80 miles per hour on the interstates. Will the DOT then raise the speed limit to 80? Why not just enforce the interstate highway speed limit with speed cameras instead of making the road more dangerous for everyone with higher speeds?

Jim Chiddix, Waterville

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