If speed were so important, we would make the limit 15 mph. Most of us can run that fast, so drivers would be free to text and disregard the road and the CHP could take desk jobs. All accidents would be minor. Well, there’s whiplash, and the violence of over-eager airbags — other than that. But a lot of us just aren’t willing to drive freeways at 15 mph.
In fact, simple observation at any hour will tell you we aren’t willing to drive 55. There are multiple “test areas” on Highway 101 in San Mateo County marked 55 mph since May yet the vast majority drive 70 mph, some 75 mph; a few as always drive 80 mph. 70+ mph is a reasonable speed in the judgment of 10s of thousands of drivers daily. When these drivers are frustrated and late, will they be “safer?”