Driving 55, Again?

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If it feels like 1974 all over again – for those who remember 1974 – just wait. Soon we may be driving like it’s 1974 again. 

As in 55. 

Or even slower.  Maybe not at all. 

Among the ways being floated to deal with the deliberately engineered doubling – perhaps soon tripling – of the cost of a gallon of gas by a regime that promised it would do exactly that is to bring back the National Maximum Speed Limit of 55 MPH.

Or something very much like it.

Millennials and younger won’t remember what it was like to take a walk on the highway. To drive slower on the highway than one drove on many secondary roads. For a 200 mile drive to take four hours rather than three. To live in constant fear of being hassled and mulcted by an armed government worker for driving at speeds that had been legal speeds.

That was the NMSL.

At stroke of a pen, driving 70-75 went from being legal to hugely ticketable. Not only that, either. Getting a ticket also usually meant getting a “surcharge” – the term used by the insurance mafia to justify increasing the amount of money you were already forced to pay in order to be allowed to drive, at all. In addition to whatever the court made you pay. 

This lasted for almost 20 years, until the NMSL was finally repealed in 1995.  

Immense damage was done during those 20 years – and not just to the wallets of American drivers, not one of whom was ever issued a refund for all those “speeding” tickets that were issued for driving at speeds that had been legal prior to the imposition of the NMSL – and which were (just like that) decreed to be legal, once again. The insurance mafia wasn’t made to return any of the “surcharges” it charged, either, when all of a sudden it was legal to drive 70-75 again.

The total transfer of wealth from the driving public to the government-insurance apparat probably runs to the several hundred millions of dollars.

But the real damage was psychological. 

Initially touted as a fuel-saving measure, the NMSL quickly assumed the mantle of a saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety measure. Very much of a piece with the recent rituals involving the wearing of the Holy Face Diaper. Then as now, the public was cleaved into two groups. The first saw through the sham – and refused to shoulder the shame. The people in this group knew that they weren’t in the wrong for driving 70-75 on the same roads that it was legal to drive 70-75 on before the NMSL made it illegal to drive those speeds. They knew it was wrong to punish people for driving the previously legal speeds and came to resent the cant used to justify it. 

They also understood that it accelerated the corruption of a system already waist-deep in it. Speed traps may have been around since about the time of the Model T, but now – thanks to the NMSL – practically everyone was a “speeder” by dint of speed laws that practically everyone ignored because they were almost impossible to obey. This including the cops who manned the speed traps.

The highways were designed for average speeds around 70-75, back in the ’50s. To drive 55 in the ’70s was like shuffling rather than walking. It was excruciating – but very profitable.

Cops – whom the public generally respected, before Drive 55 became the law of the land because cops – for the most part – didn’t hassle people who weren’t asking for it – came to be viewed with justifiable contempt as little better than highwaymen, with the only difference being they held you up on behalf of the government (and insurance mafia) who paid them to do it.

Using the money they just held you up for, adding insult to the injury.

Speed limits, too, came into general disrepute – having lost any informational value to motorists not familiar with a given road. Everyone understood that speed limits were political totems, to be obeyed only when one suspected a speed trap might be in operation.

The other group bought the lie – and began to sing the mantra.

Speed kills!

The NMSL brought the Safety Cult into the mainstream. Transformed neurotic ninnyism into a national religion – enforced at gunpoint. And something much worse than that. It legitimized neurotic ninnyism. The repercussions of this extend to the present day and manifest in the general neurotic ninnysim that made it so easy to get so many people to don the Holy Face Diaper.

Granny might die! being essentially the same ululation as speed kills!

These people will probably be happy to Drive 55 again – or even slower – since it will appeal to their fetish to signal their virtue. It will be interesting to see how well modern cars with as many as three overdrive gears (and almost always at least two) shuffle along at such speeds.

And the government will be happy to use that rancid desire to signal virtue to do more than just get people to “slow down” – for saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety! This time – unlike last time – we might find ourselves not allowed to drive any speed, at all. To “save the planet.” No go on certain days, perhaps.

This, by the way, is something readily enforceable if you happen to own a Tesla.

You may have missed it – because it was quickly purged – but for a day or so there was an article up that urged ElonMusk to shut down all the Teslas in Russia. Think about it, a little – instead of being told what to think about Keeeeeeeeeeev! 

. . .

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  1. Well at least I’m not going to worry about that A–Hole nonsense again!
    Remember driving back to Houston from CT in 1986 and running into Arkansas signs after crossing the Memphis bridge “Zero Tolerance 55mph”…Up Yours!

    Fortunately in the Dominican Republic distances are delightfully close and the average speed is …just about 38mph….averaging all road conditions….AND “PSSST”……The cops don’t give a shit what you do.

    “Yesserie Bob”….Developing nation libertarians rock.

    Just don’t even think about driving after dark (6:45pm)….too many native libertarians out and about the road network with a marked distain for reflective clothing and general road rules….just saying…..

      • Well H,
        I’ve signed up for “Babbel” Spanish and the retiree visa apps are in process….If things go according to plan ..
        Two hectares and a Daihatsu truck by “23”!

        I’m really interested in scoring an ultralight and zipping over the terrain at a “grandfatherly” pace …also purchasing a couple of decent video corders to record the sights.
        Some of the most spectacular scenery entails grueling hikes and wouldn’t it be nice to just float by overhead at say 38 miles per hour? 😉

  2. It’s already at 50%. According to the last legitimate study of speed zoning practice in the United States, 7/10 zones are under posted by 5 mph or more. Mostly more. This will compound the problem. Look for more ridiculously low speed limits in urban areas first, though this so-called synthetic energy shortage may affect rurals as well. Based on patterns from 1973-74, maybe a state or two will pass a lower speed limit then it will be followed by federal action. I look at the chances of all of this happening at 50-50. The resistance to the Biden regime and to congress in general is somewhat stronger than it was. I don’t see states like Florida or South Dakota capitulating to a “mandate” as easily this time as they did in 1974. I’m not going to say that they won’t though

  3. Hans- what a great visual! Ponch and John pull over the Norton Riders and are pelted with the contents of colostomy bags! Like monkeys in a zoo showin proper primate respect for aggressive outsiders.

  4. I’d doesn’t save a drop of gas if people don’t do it, which they generally won’t. This is nothing more or less than a grab for more power and money.

  5. The Feds take money from the states, grab their cut, then tell the states they won’t get back THEIR money unless they enforce traffic laws the Feds want. Just another reason to defund the Federal government.

    • Exactly, Blah –

      That’s how the Federal government coerced state to adopt the NMSL. Even Montana – which once upon a time only had a “reasonable and prudent” standard that amounted to no formal speed limit at all.

  6. In my area I have noticed a significant LACK of traffic law enforcement since the beginning of the COVID psyop. In recent conversation with the car salesman I bought a used car from, he mentioned that he didn’t know what one had to do to get a traffic citation, since he mostly drove as he pleased, and had not been stopped for some time. Locally, the AGW simply are not concerned with inconsequential traffic “violations”. I’m not privy to the causative factor, but I’ll take it.

  7. And cops think they’re hated now?

    We seem to be ratcheting up the madness exponentially these days. Like the building frenzy of a symphony heading toward the crescendo and crash. Peter Buttigieg, from South Bend, (is Charles Dickens scripting all this?) stomping his little feet and demanding we obey is about as much as many of us can take. I’d tell him to stuff it but, he’d probably like that.

    The collapse is nigh. Let’s hope it will be as peaceful as the Soviet dismantling but, I’m not holding my breath. We need to be rid of these crypto-commies, Enviros/Animal Rightists/Safety Cultists/Drug Warriors/Etc., if we want to live Free.

  8. The 85% doesn’t seem like its used much as it is already.

    My local highway is 35mph. Never mind that most people driving it are doing 45-60. It’s only during rush hour that it becomes under 35, due to congestion. But of course if the speed “limit” was set at 65 (what it should be set at if speed limits were needed), but there would be no tickets to write because few would be “speeding”.

    I think the hazards of the road are the ones going out of their way to be traffic blockers. Far too many are doing that, thinking they need to police others who are “speeding”. They are the cause of road rage.

    And if they really wanted to “save” gas, they would put most of the stop lights on blinking yellow all night so you wouldn’t have to stop as much. I know it would save truckers fuel and time (and encourage them to come through the area at night) if they didn’t have to stop at every stoplight going into a closed shopping center. Its so annoying to wait at a light at a road that nobody is using for hours (because everything on it is closed for the night).

    • “The 85% doesn’t seem like its used much”
      Oh Hell no. It isn’t used at all. If it was, local dual lane highways here would have a speed limit of 75-80 MPH.
      Regarding traffic lights, the local “civil engineers” have timed traffic lights expressly so you CANNOT proceed through consecutive intersections. They want you stopped as often as they possibly can. So you don’t speed.

      • No. It’s used plenty, you just have it backwards.

        The speed limits are set so that 85% of drivers are not in compliance at any given time. That way, the coppers can pretty much just decide who they want to pull over.

  9. Sadly, Brock Yates is no longer with us. However, despair is a sin — the Cannonball Run record fell multiple times during the pandemic.

    When we rented a new Mazda CX5 last year, thanks to built in map data updated continuously via a cellular modem connection, the vehicle knew when we were “speeding” on a road and flashed an icon on the dash which looked like the standard speed limit sign.

    How long before the vehicle software does a lot more than flash an icon?

  10. And just like that, the problems caused by government we will be blamed for.

    Their malfeasance in monetary policy and foreign relations is our fault for using too much gas.

    Can we just fire the govt?

    • We can just fire the govt, it’s just not likely to happen. If they held an election, and nobody came, from where would they draw their legitimacy? Their high moral and ethical standards?

  11. Its funny Eric – everything, be it global warming, covid, or now the boogy man of Putin…. the solution is more restrictions on the movement of people!! What a strange coincidence this is !!

  12. I liked G. Gordon Liddy’s response to the speed kills mantra:
    If speed kills, then all the drivers in the Indianapolis 500 would be dead.

  13. The drive 55 to save gas was a crock anyway, most modern cars are most efficient in the mid 60’s range of speed. The safety sheep and virtue signaling cultists will be all in love with this for sure, even though diddly-squat of our oil comes from Russia. We had just bought our house in 1974 and I remember you were only allowed to get gas on odd or even days, depending on the last digit of your license plate.
    I heard some yo-yos are suggesting us peons only be allowed to drive on odd or even days, probably where they got that idea. I don’t drive much being retired and all but I will make a point of going for a drive if some govco minions mandate that I can’t.

    • Yeah Mike, and they forgot one other very important thing:

      I can’t drive 55 (and neither can most other people, based on my daily commute).

      • Hi Publius,

        Reimposition of lowered speed limits will just make driving more miserable than it already is, courtesy of the cretins who hate cars and driving and mean to kill off both by making both so unpleasant that most will simply give up.

        • That may be the intent.

          I predict something more like the Thelma & Louise ending, it just remains to be seen who will be in the convertible. Side note, does Tesla even make a convertible?

  14. ‘bring back the National Maximum Speed Limit of 55 MPH. Or something very much like it.’ — eric

    What’s happened since 1974, as Eric regularly details, is that plain old sedans like the Toyota Camry now are as fast as the muscle cars of half a century ago.

    Why would auto buyers want a vehicle that’s capable of 130 or 150 mph, but is governed to crawl along at 55 mph?

    Yet it’s happening. Already the NHTSA’s clique of Californicators onboarded by Pete Buttitwitch are looking at ditching the guideline of setting speed limits such that 85% of drivers are at or below it.

    It won’t be just a matter of lowering the threshold to 50 or 60%. Rather — in the same vein as now-mandated driver alertness and intoxication monitoring — some nasty techno-nanny will be imposed to detect and punish speed limit scofflaws, perhaps by forcibly steering ‘their’ vehicle off the road and disabling it.

    Neofeudalism, comrades: may your shackles rest easy on your tired old bones.

  15. In the 60’s to early 70’s AGW’s were portrayed on TV and film as *1-Adam-12* type good guys. When the *I can’t drive 55* days were in style, we have *Smokey and the Bandit* type AGW’s trying to get the good guy.
    Since were all criminals anyway for not taking the jab, might as well become a full outlaw again. I’ll suggest to my Norton Motorcycle Club go full patch outlaw, except now we have to stop more often to empty our colostomy bags.


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