Motorists react to speed increases

Rapid River — Traveling across Michigan is a little quicker these days after the state approved speed increases for 1500 highways and freeways.

Legendary rock and roller Sammy Hagar has a song called, “I can’t drive 55.” The song produced in 1984 referenced the National Maximum Speed that at the time was 55. Fast forward to today, where drivers in Michigan can now travel as fast as 65 or even 75 miles per hour.

“Our enforcement efforts are much more intense with the increased speed limit and our tolerance levels will be much decreased,” said Sgt. Joe Racicot of the MSP Gladstone Post. “We will not be allowing people travel in excess of the 65 mph limit.”

On the ABC 10 Facebook Page, we asked motorists who have traveled on US–2 between Rapid River and St. Ignace, where the speed limit has increased from 55 to 65 miles per hour, to weigh–in on the change.

John Hardwick wrote, “I’m very happy to get from the bridge to Gladstone in two hours! My 10 hour drive is now an 8 hour drive. That is also including the speed limit on US–127.”

John Stapleton chimed in with “At least you can pass the slow campers without speeding.”
But Terry Davis is not a fan of the speed increase, writing, “Nope… people were driving like idiots on US–2 before. Now it’s more like idiots on steroids!”

Most of the comments on the page were in favor of the change, but don’t expect any favors from police if you’re going over 65 or 75 in the designated areas.

“When you receive a citation for a 5–over or 10–over, you’re going to receive a couple of points on your driver’s license as well as a minimum of $110 in fines,” said Sgt. Racicot.

Chippewa County Sheriff Mike Bitnar released a statement on the sheriff’s office Facebook page, warning drivers about traveling faster than 65 mph on M–28 and M–123.
It reads in part, “In the past, with the speed limit at 55 mph, most of our Deputy Sheriffs have given a generous leeway to those traveling on those roads.”

With the increase in the speed limit to 65 mph, the public should not expect to get that big of a cushion in the future.

“The speed limit is 65 mph. That is the limit. There is no tolerance over that,” Sgt. Racicot.

With all of these changes either here or coming, there is one thing the Michigan Department of Transportation is reminding motorists about.

“Until the speed limit signs go up, the speed limit remains 55 mph,” said Dan Weingarten, MDOT Communications Representative. “Obey the posted speed limit until they’re changed.”