Will NJ get up to speed?
More than three dozen states have speed limits of 70 miles per hour or higher. New Jersey is not one of them, and that probably won’t change anytime soon.
“It’s certainly not something that’s been actively considered here,” said Tom Feeney, spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. “People who run the Turnpike and the Parkway think that the speeds are at an appropriate level right now.”
New Jersey upped its maximum speed to 65 mph in the late 1990s, and it’s remained that way ever since.
Pennsylvania recently became the latest state to hike the maximum driving speed on some of its major highways. Other states, while more rural, have stretches of road that allow for speeds of up to 85 mph.
“New Jersey has a lot of traffic up and down both the Turnpike and the Parkway, and that’s certainly a consideration when you’re setting the speed limits,” Feeney said.
Asm. Declan O’Scanlon (R-Red Bank), also on record as a stark critic of New Jersey’s red light camera program, suggested New Jersey speed limits are artificially low in some spots, and an increase on certain roadways would result in a smoother traffic flow.
“Speed limits reflect the speeds at which people drive. They don’t dictate speeds at which people drive,” O’Scanlon said. “You can both increase your speed limit and increase safety at the same time.”
The New Jersey chapter of the National Motorists Association said the state will inevitably hike the maximum driving speeds on limited access roads, noting that the Atlantic City Expressway originally posted a 70 mph speed limit when it first opened 50 years ago.