Richland County’s Representative Todd Rutherford says law enforcement spends too much time trying to enforce a speed limit law that he calls “artificial”. Rutherford says law enforcement could better spend their time on more important safety issues, therefore, he has filed a request that the speed limit in designated areas be raised from 70 to 80 mph.
“On SC highways, with the exception of those that are under construction, the average speed driven on every single one of those highways is greater than the 70 mph speed limit that is currently set.” Rutherford said. “So, we need to seek to get rid of the contempt for law enforcement that goes along with artificially low speed limits. This bill will make sure that people are traveling at speeds at which they feel comfortable and not simply driving and looking down at their speedometer and worrying about getting a speeding ticket.”
Rutherford says he’s been getting varied opinions and feedback from constituents. “It’s been mixed. People feel like if you raise the speed limit that people are just going to drive faster. That doesn’t bear out in the facts. There was a study done several years ago on the Audobon with no speed limit at all. The average speed was still 79 mph, “says Rutherford. He added, “People drive the speed with which they feel comfortable.”
Rutherford says that other states already have an 80 mile per hour speed limit. “I get a lot of e-mail from people out-of-state applauding the efforts. States like Texas already have an 80 mph speed limit and Colorado’s speed limit is 75.” In regards to the purpose of the bill, he said, “It seeks to bring some common sense to our speed limit laws.”
Rutherford says that the contempt for law enforcement is the bigger issue. “I believe that at the end of the day it will allow our law enforcement to focus on those issues that I believe they should be focused on: things like wreckless driving and DUI’s, rather than just trying to catch speeders.”