Wayback Wednesday: Speed Law 1974

Posted on Updated on

Speed Limit Image
Image Credit: 63highlanders.blogspot.com

Forty-five years ago, today, President Richard Nixon signed The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act which created the National Maximum Speed Law, prohibiting speed limits higher than 55 miles per hour (90 km/h). If states wished to receive any federal funds for highway repair, they were forced to comply.

The legislation was created in an effort to conserve gasoline after the OPEC oil crisis embargo started the previous October. This oil shock had its roots in two issues:
(1) The US pull-out of the Bretton Woods Accord, detaching the dollar from the price of gold, depreciated the currency and oil producers lost money.
(2) Nations supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War were targeted.

The embargo ended in March of 1974 but, the price of oil had quadrupled by then. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve started in 1975 as a second response. The Department of Energy in 1977 and the National Energy Act of 1978 followed via President Jimmy Carter.

The Speed Limit Law was made permanent by President Gerald Ford via the Federal-Aid Highway Amendments of 1974.

All speed limit controls were lifted with the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995 via President Bill Clinton on November 28, 1995.

16 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Speed Law 1974

    Kenneth T. said:
    January 3, 2019 at 12:35 AM

    I look at the 55 speed limit now, and think… whoa, is this ever slow. Just how did we ever get anywhere?

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 3, 2019 at 1:05 AM

      According some of the information, there was a lot of non-compliance. Then, municipalities, towns, cities and counties found out that they could make revenue off of the violations. But, yeah, 55mph is a creep.

    badfinger20 said:
    January 3, 2019 at 11:29 AM

    I remember this. My mom was pulled over by a State Trooper when this happened and cars were flying by…she kept saying… what about that one, or that one…or that one. The Trooper wasn’t amused. He said he was going to keep adding money to the ticket the more she said it.
    I doubt if he really did…but she didn’t do that again. I remember every grown-up griping about it.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 3, 2019 at 1:29 PM

      I’ve met a couple of TN Troopers. They are similar in nature to NC Troopers…FOS. I worked with NC Troopers (side by side) from 1992 to 2001. My office was in a Trooper station.

      My parents were never affected by that law. My dad & his brother were in LE (already shared) & the local cops were forever getting my aunt & my mom confused…both blond & same last name. “Ok. Which brother do you belong to?”

      That law certainly generated revenue, contempt and colorful language.

        badfinger20 said:
        January 3, 2019 at 1:37 PM

        Colorful language is a great way to put it…”Which brother do you belong to”…I got my laugh for today.
        I was pulled over by a Trooper in the 80s…had my guitar in the back seat and the Trooper was a Monkees fan. We started talking music and he only gave me a warning. Really nice guy.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          January 3, 2019 at 2:10 PM

          All LE in my home county knew each other. My hometown ‘used’ to be small. Now, it wants to be Greensboro. 🙄

          Good cops are a joy. The bad ones can be devastating. My VN vet/cop was one of those that would rather engage you, talk to you, find out what’s going on & determine if you ‘needed’ to go to jail. He didn’t have much of a relationship with his dad but, at a very young age, his mom became involved (& married) with a Kennedy/Johnson appointed Federal Prosecutor. He grew up in court rooms & knew law. His stepfather was the kind of man that, after working for the government, would take any client that needed help, told the truth (guilty or innocent) and, if they had trouble paying, they could exchange talent for payment (you’re a carpenter, huh? you’re a mechanic, huh?). This man taught my Ken fairness. Ken was big on ‘officer discretion’.

            badfinger20 said:
            January 3, 2019 at 2:29 PM

            I grew up in a small town. When I was 13 I was a latch key kid in the middle of the country. My mom worked 2-3 jobs and she asked the Sheriff if I needed to go to the store…could I drive? He said yes and I never had a problem with the other cops.
            Ken’s stepdad sounded great. That is treating people like human beings…what a concept. You are right…one bad cop can bring respect down to nothing.
            Years ago our dentist found out that I was in IT. I ended up doing a lot of work for him and paid for my wife’s bridge and made money. It was at a time where it really helped us.

              The Hinoeuma responded:
              January 3, 2019 at 4:19 PM

              That’s cool…both stories. Sometimes, the kids had to help out & possibly drive. That was a different world back then.

              Sharing talent for mutual good…I wish we could return to that instead of being slaves to worthless fiat paper.

                badfinger20 said:
                January 3, 2019 at 4:35 PM

                It was a different world. Some would be horrified today with things we did every day.

                I personally like the barter system.

                  The Hinoeuma responded:
                  January 3, 2019 at 4:37 PM

                  I hear ya’! ❤

    hanspostcard said:
    January 3, 2019 at 2:32 PM

    There are parts of the country where going 55 you would never get anywhere- Montana for example then there are parts of the northeast where anything over 55 is crazy. I hate driving parts of I-95.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      January 3, 2019 at 4:29 PM

      I’ve driven through the lower section of Montana. You are right. The laws of physics don’t even apply.

      We have a section of I-95, here…plus I-40, I-85, I-77…

      My one and only trek to the Northeast was a day flight to Manhattan in 1991. Past that, I’ve never been farther north than Richmond.

        hanspostcard said:
        January 3, 2019 at 4:55 PM

        95 is terrible in the northern Virginia area and also in the population centers north of that up through New England…

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          January 3, 2019 at 5:16 PM

          Yikes. Thanks for the warning.

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    January 3, 2019 at 6:32 PM

    My old Fiat would need a straight road and a downhill section of about 100 miles to have any chance of breaking the 55mph speed limit.

Leave a Reply...Share A Thought

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.