Your Opinion: MoDOT equivocates on speed limits

Dear Editor:

Is the Missouri Department of Transportation implying those who drive the speed limit (following the law) are the problem when attempting to reduce accidents and increase safety on the roadways?

If a person were to open MoDOT’s website and search for “Setting Speed Limits,” they would find a brief overview of how MoDOT establishes speed limits on Missouri roadways.

They would also find in bold letters, right after mentioning decades of research, a paragraph that reads, “The posted speed limit is ignored by many drivers. In fact, many drivers are frustrated by speed limits that are set lower than the perceived safe and reasonable speed. The few drivers that go the speed limit, regardless of how low it’s set, help create this frustration. It creates conflict between the slow and fast drivers.”

Wait, isn’t it the other way around? Shouldn’t it say the drivers who exceed the speed limit (breaking the law) are the ones who create this issue and variance in speed?

They continue by discussing how they set a speed limit based off how fast the majority, “the 85th percentile,” drive and say, “Constant speed is the key. Without it, accidents increase.”

Wouldn’t there be a constant speed if more people followed the law and drove the speed limit? This mentality that driving five miles over the posted speed is an acceptable amount blows my mind. Why not change all the signs to read, “Suggested Speed” and not “Speed Limit?”

I’m tired of seeing responsible people blamed for everyone else’s problems and I don’t care if other drivers are frustrated by the speed limits or if they believe they should be able to drive faster.

It’s a speed limit — not a suggestion. It’s presumably set to ensure the safety of the driver and other drivers on the roadway. However, MoDOT makes it sound like they simply set the speed at whatever the majority of drivers feel like driving.

Their only saving grace was found in the last sentence of the last paragraph where it says, “Traffic engineers may adjust the actual speed limit by taking into account the number of accidents on the road, parking, pedestrians, curves and property development.”

Up until this point, I was wondering if we needed to cut MoDOT’s budget and give the tax revenue we were going to use on traffic engineer salaries to our state’s law enforcement.

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