Our big fear is drivers obeying the law

Last week in Wyoming went into effect increasing the speed limit on most two lane state highways to 70.

This week, WYDOT revealed the agency’s “big fear”: people might start driving 70 before crews had changed signs to match the new speed limit.

This is a ridiculous statement.

The requirement that WYDOT approve each speed limit increase from 65 to 70 was repealed last week. Now the speed limit is 70 on these roads. A state highway can only have a 65 mph speed limit if the DOT justifies it with an “engineering and traffic investigation.” It has not done so.

In next two months crews will be out replacing incorrect 65 mph signs. They will not be raising the speed limit to 70 because it already is.

And supposing it weren’t legal to drive 70 until the signs changed, drivers doing so shouldn’t rank as even a little fear, much less a big one. Nothing is going to change except new stickers on signs. Driving 70 would be a minor technical violation.

DOT spokesmen spouting nonsense isn’t a big deal on its own. That’s their job. But it shows signs of an attitude that needs to be eradicated.

A speed limit sign is just numbers. It’s only important to the extent that it tells you if you’re going to crash or get a ticket.

The “public involvement specialist” should have directed her warning at the highway patrol, which needs to know that “65” means “70” until summer.

But I haven’t seen much police activity driving across Wyoming. Or much reason to have a speed limit.

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