Posted highway speed limits have been slowly disappearing around the U.S. for years. Now, California may become the first state to have no speed limits at all on their highways. According to Green Car Reports, state senator John Moorlach proposed a bill that would be modeled after the famous Autobahn highway system in Germany.
For those who are unfamiliar with it, the Autobahn is a stretch of asphalt with no posted speed limit, that allows drivers to drive any a speed of their choosing.
USA Today reports that California is far from the only state with exceptionally high speed limits on their highways.
Seven other states — Idaho, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming — are all home to highways with speed limits of 80 miles per hour. There is even a stretch of pavement in the state of Texas with a speed limit of 85.
The outlet goes on to explain the reason why governments across these states have been steadily increasing speed limits on their highways. The changes stem from advancements in technology, which make vehicles safer and more capable of handling top speeds. This, in combination with the decline in fuel prices across the U.S., causes drivers to care a little less about optimal fuel usage. This has resulted in people wanting – and needing – to drive faster.
The biggest obstacle the state of California faces are the complications involved in their high-speed rail project. The state, however, has proposed a much simpler and quicker solution to the problem — adding additional lanes to their highways, and then doing away with the speed limit altogether.
“If Sacramento is serious about allowing Californians to travel between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, and High-Speed Rail will take too long to build, let’s construct four additional lanes with no maximum speed limit to provide for high speed on a safe road,” Moorlach explained during a press release about the proposed solution. He went on to address concerns regarding the safety concerns of driving at such high speeds.
The state senator points out the fact that – according to a study conducted by the World Health Organization – Germany experiences a third of the traffic-related deaths (per every 100,000 people) compared to the United States.
After the Great California Rail Fail: faster highways? California legislator proposes "American Autobahn" no speed limit highway as alternative to high speed rail. Prediction: Greens won't be amused. https://t.co/DVK6g4HiPH— Walter Russell Mead (@wrmead) February 23, 2019
“Bringing this practice to California would replace the need for a high-speed rail that all could use,” he added.
Experts connected to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety do not necessarily agree with the state’s plans, as they do not think it is a safe solution. The other huge problem? Regardless of how high the posted speed limit is, drivers are notorious for driving faster. In a state with a posted highway speed limit of 80 miles per hour, it is not uncommon to see drivers pushing 90.