When were speed limits first enacted?

In the beginning, hardly anyone could afford to own a car. If they were lucky enough to have one, there was not much traffic on Mississippi roads besides horses and carriages. In addition, nobody was moving that fast because they could not. Vehicles at that time were very limited. However, as time went on, technology improved and more people hit the roads in motorized vehicles, there was a need for speed limits.

According to the American Safety Council, the first speed limit for motorized vehicles was enacted in 1901 in Connecticut. At that time the fastest you could drive was 15 miles per hour. New York enacted laws in 1903, but the rest of the country did not really become too focused on speed until the 1970s.

At this time, the focus was more on conserving fuel than on making people drive slower. The national speed limit of 55 MPH was set by President Nixon in 1974. It was increased in the 1980s to 65 MPH. It was in 1995 when states regained control to regulate their own speed limits.

It is important to note that regardless of who was setting speed limit laws or what that limit was set to, driving over the speed limit has always been against the law. If you got caught then, just as if you get caught now, you would be fined. Plus, speeding has always been linked to increasing your chances of being involved in an accident. This information is for education and is not legal advice.


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