Speediest Highways in AmericaAmerican drivers have slowed down a bit over the last few years. The reason somepeople are letting up on the pedal slightly may be due to higher prices for gas ormore aggressive traffic enforcement. Either reason reflects the fact that it is moreeconomical to drive slower whether motorists are looking for greater fuel economyor fewer speeding tickets.INRIX, a GPS data tracking company, reports the average speed on the nation’sten fastest highways was 81 miles per hour this year compared to 85 miles per hourlast year.Even though the average speed is lower, people seem to be driving faster as theyget closer to their homes, making up time as they near the end of their trips. Manyof the speeding instances this year occurred on open stretches as they approachmajor urban centers as well as on roads just outside of congested areas like NewYork City and Los Angeles. According to Yahoo Autos, much of the speeding inthe nation takes place on long, open stretches of highway connecting major urbancenters.The following statistics regarding America’s ten speediest highways come frominformation gathered by the traffic data firm, INRIX.1. Northbound Arizona State Route 79 between Saguaro National Park andPhoenixThe fastest five percent of drivers on this 17.6-mile portion of Route 79 averaged aspeed of 88 miles per hour, and the highest speed recorded was 94 miles per hour.2. Oklahoma State Highway 33 in both directions just northwest of OklahomaCityThe fastest five percent of drivers on this 24-mile stretch of highway averaged aspeed of 83 miles per hour, and the highest speed recorded was 87 miles per hour.3. California State Route 73 in both directions between Moulton Parkway andBear StreetThe fastest five percent of drivers on this 14.8-mile road averaged a speed of 81miles per hour, and the top speed clocked was 85 miles per hour.
4. Eastbound MI 5 Michigan Highway heading into Detroit from the I 275/I96 interchange to Telegraph RoadThe fastest five percent of drivers on this 4.9-mile stretch of highway averaged aspeed of 81 miles per hour, and the highest speed recorded was 83 miles per hour.5. Arizona State Route 77 heading north out of Tucson up to the AZ76/Redington Road interchange near San Manuel AirportThe fastest five percent of drivers on this 4.8-mile portion of Route 77 averaged aspeed of 81 miles per hour, and the highest speed recorded was 81 miles per hour.6. Interstate 5 in California from Lake Forest Drive To CA 133 in bothdirectionsThe fastest five percent of drivers on this 6.1-mile stretch of the interstate averageda speed of 80 miles per hour, and the top speed clocked was 84 miles per hour.7. Route CA 241 in CaliforniaRoute CA 241 in California is a toll road nearly 25 miles long between RanchoSanta Margarita and Yorba Linda. INRIX did not list specific speed data for thisroad.8. Route I 25 in ColoradoAuthorities recorded 973 vehicle accidents in the section of Route I 25 in Coloradobetween Santa Fe and I 70 in Denver last year. Many of the crashes resulted fromspeeding, but there were other causes as well. INRIX did not list specific speeddata for this road.9. Route US 385 in TexasRoute US 385 in Texas is part of the La Entrada al Pacifico trade corridor fromFort Stockton to Odessa. INRIX did not list specific speed data for this road.10. Route I 95 in New JerseyPart of Route I 95 in New Jersey runs from the Scudder Falls Bridge to the US 1interchange and ends there. Another portion of I 95 begins at the George
Washington Bridge and becomes I 276 at the Delaware River Turnpike Toll Bridgegoing into Pennsylvania. INRIX did not list specific speed data for this road.After the oil crisis of 1973, the US Congress created a National Maximum SpeedLaw that set the highest speed limit at 55 miles per hour on all the nation’s roads.Many motorists ignored the lower speed limit, and it was raised to 65 miles perhour on some roads in 1987. Congress finally repealed the law in 1995, allowingeach state to set its own limits again.Each state or territory in America sets the speed limits for roads in its jurisdiction,and many factors contribute to determining the limits. Some roads have differentlimits for different types of vehicles as well as for daytime and nighttime driving.The inland West usually has the country’s highest speed limits, and most of theNortheast, excluding Maine, usually has the lowest limits. In June of 2011, Maineset a maximum speed limit of 75 miles per hour for a remote section of Interstate95 in the northern area of the state.Although two of the nation’s fastest roads are in Arizona, the state’s speed limit inrural areas is a reasonable 75 miles per hour.Texas recently raised the speed limit on some roads approved by state officials to85 miles per hour, and the nighttime limit for trucks is no longer lower. In addition,most 70 miles per hour speed limits on Texas roads will be raised to 75 miles perhour.State laws in Oregon allow a maximum speed limit of 70 miles per hour. However,the Oregon Department of Transportation has not identified any roads that theybelieve should have the higher limits. Therefore, 65 miles per hour remains thehighest speed limit for the state’s roads at this time.Drivers in Oregon appear to be more careful about staying within the speed limitsaccording to Jim Bak, INRIX spokesman, who said, “Nothing in Oregon showedup in the top 10th percentile of data.” This could be due in part to Oregon’s strictertraffic enforcement policy.Speed limits in Hawaii are even lower than in Oregon with 60 miles per hour thehighest limit on freeways in that state.Although rarely acknowledged, speeding motorists provide a profitable incomesource for many jurisdictions. Some states prefer to maintain lower speed limits
because drivers tend to go faster than the limits when they are lower than those towhich they are accustomed. This gives the ticketing authorities additionalopportunities to issue citations and increase their revenue.