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DRIVETIME MAHATMA: Speed fluid subject for I-40 stretch

by Frank Fellone | October 17, 2020 at 9:15 a.m.

Dear Mahatma: Is it me, or has the 75 mph speed limit actually caused traffic to go 75-77 mph instead of 80-82 when the speed limit was 70, especially Maumelle to Conway and beyond? -- Constitutional Scholar

Dear Scholar: As everyone knows by now, certain parts of interstate highways in Arkansas are being converted from a 70 mph speed limit to 75 mph. This is part of the Legislature's grand scheme to speed up life in our small, wonderful state. About this, we have written how the Arkansas Department of Transportation is gradually changing out signs, including on Interstate 40 in the area mentioned.

It's counterintuitive to think a higher speed limit would cause drivers to actually go slower. But what do we know? We asked the Arkansas State Police if it were sending out increased numbers of steely eyed troopers to slow down the lead-footed.

Short answer: No. So said Bill Sadler, who speaks for the agency.

He then added the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. (Google him.)

Sadler noted that while some speed limits have gone up, there has been no change in the number of troopers assigned to patrol duty. On I-40 between Maumelle and Conway, there may be as few as three or as many as seven troopers at any one time. Depends on work schedules and other assignments.

In any event, Sadler said, the imperative for drivers is to follow Arkansas Code Annotated 27-51-201, "Limitations generally," under the section on speed limits. That is, to not drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is "reasonable and prudent under the conditions ..."

In our addled mind, O Constitutional Scholar, any slowdown in traffic on I-40 between Maumelle and Conway is from congestion created by the thousands of people who live between those two fast-growing cities.

Dear Mahatma: Man, it takes about three seconds to do. That's three seconds I will never get back. -- Andy

Dear Andy: You reference a recent column in which it was revealed, not for the first time, that when a vehicle is in motion the driver must take down the handicap placard from the rearview mirror.

Your comment is, of course, tongue in cheek.

People, take down that placard while in motion. Doing so is a rule, regulation, directive, imperative, instruction and guidance from the federal government. Do we want the federal government on our case? No.

On another topic, following up on the danger of illegally riding an all-terrain vehicle on a public street or highway, we asked the Department of Finance and Administration how many tickets were issued to people doing so.

Alas, DF&A's ticket data is limited to motor vehicle tickets. Technically, we suppose, an ATV isn't a motor vehicle. Let's paraphrase Willie Nelson.

Mamas don't let your babies drive ATVs on public streets or highways. It's illegal and dangerous.

Vanity plate on a Mustang: ME GIFT.


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