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Speed up? A senior VP of AAA says Florida needs to slow down

Just the other day in St. Pete.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Just the other day in St. Pete.

31

March

Largo's Kevin Bakewell in this morning's letters to the editor:

Using extreme caution, you merge onto a Florida interstate highway, where the speed limit is 70 mph. You opt for the far right lane, set your cruise control at that "maximum speed," but aren't a bit surprised to see other vehicles blow by you like a scene from Fast & Furious. The Florida Legislature is working to address this dangerous problem of flagrant speeding by … raising speed limits.

No one will say exactly why. About the only reason we've heard is that some other states did it and drivers will get places in less time. How much less time? Assuming a 20-mile commute traveling at the speed limit, going 75 instead of 70 will get you to your destination 1 minute and 8 seconds sooner. Hardly a reasonable tradeoff for what will surely be — based on crash data from other states — an increase in speed-related deaths and injuries.

In 2012 in Florida, the latest year for which complete statistics are available, 2,430 people died with the 70 mph limit in place. Is that so acceptable that we have room for more fatalities? That's a gruesome average of 46 funerals a week, every week of the year just from traffic deaths in our state. Let's ask the thousands of grieving family members if raising the speed limit is what we need to do.

[Last modified: Monday, March 31, 2014 9:11am]

    

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