Are people driving faster?

Based on my own observations, I’d say yes, but does anybody measure average speeds in a comparable way (e.g., over the same stretch of road with similar traffic) from year to year?

Probably, there are some statistics for highways, but how about secondary roads? I have lived on the same small-city residential street for almost 50 years, and it seems like the typical car passes my house about twice as fast as in the old days. Is this true, or am I just becoming an old fart?



[sub]posted speed limits haven’t gone up by 100%–the speed limit down Monroe Street was 30 mph in 1980, and it’s still 30 mph today, and there were just as many morons driving up and down it at 45 back in 1980 as there are today[/sub]

Faster today as compared to when? Further, I don’t think there would be a great difference between today and 1980, but today and 1940 (to grab a year when probably fewer teens and early-20-somethings had cars of their own) might be a different story.

Give us a “when” please. I would be interested in looking for the info.



Sorry, rereading, I see that you basically said between now and 1950-51.


I read a semi-related article about a year ago in the AAA magazine…they said that speed limits could be raised to 150m.p.h. and the highways would still be safer than they were in the 1950’s. Why? Technological improvements like better tires, brakes, suspensions, etc. Going 55 back then was a risky proposition; today thats a Sunday stroll.

Well, also keep in mind that cars have been built with better suspensions and handling. Fifty years ago, if you drove 70 MPH you’d notice. Nowadays, you can hit 100 and it’d be easy-going.

So, I say, yes, people are driving faster than they were 50 years ago, not necessarily because people are more reckless, but because it’s less uncomfortable to do so.

I don’t know if people are actually driving faster now, but in some cases, the speed limits are actually lower now than they were 50 years ago. I recently saw a short film about the Maine Turnpike, which opened around 1947, IIRC. The speed limit when it opened was 70 m.p.h., but nowhere is it higher than 65 m.p.h. today. For several decades, it was 55 m.p.h.