Don't raise speed limit to 65 mphThe Dec. 23 editorial...

the Forum

January 08, 1992

Don't raise speed limit to 65 mph

The Dec. 23 editorial, "Raise the speed limit," said Governor Schaefer ignored "broad support" for raising the speed limit to 65 mph last year when he vetoed a bill that would have done just that. That's not true.

More than 6,000 Marylanders called and thousands more wrote to the governor on the speed limit issue - the vast majority in support of retaining the 55 mph limit. It was the first- or second-most calls and letters ever received on one issue, according to a Schaefer aide.

Schaefer and the citizens of Maryland responded to the indisputable evidence from studies by the University of Michigan, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and others that raising the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph would result in more traffic deaths and serious injuries.

As your editorial pointed out, many Marylanders do drive five to 10 mph faster than the 55 mph limit. But studies show that in states which have raised the speed limit to 65 mph, drivers continue to take that same liberty, pushing maximum speeds to 75-plus mph. While today's cars and roads may be the safest ever, the human body remains a frail structure when exposed to the violent forces of crashes at such speeds.

The people of Maryland have spoken, saying they're not willing to sacrifice life and limb for the few minutes saved by a 10 mph increase in the speed limit. It's time for The Evening Sun to take them at their word, stop beating a dead horse and use its editorial space more productively ` for example, in support of life-saving legislation to require the use of motorcycle helmets and primary enforcement of Maryland's safety belt law.

Walter R. Smith

Washington

V The writer is director of communications for the Government Employees Insurance Co.

The arguments in the editorial are not valid. Nothing has changed since the 1970s. We should still be working to conserve energy, reduce our dependence on Mideast oil and stop polluting the environment.

Increasing the speed limit will cause more deaths and use more fuel. Responsible leaders and the news media should not jump every time a poll indicates people want to drive faster or buy luxury, fuel-consuming cars. You should be writing editorials hTC telling Congress and the administration to get on the ball and lead us to a new national energy policy.

Governor Schaefer was right when he vetoed the bill that would have raised the speed limit and was right on track with the light-rail system. Mass transportation systems like this will go a long way to solve the problem.

Richard J. Thomas

Sykesville

A dissonant chord

In the late Maestro Bernstein's column on Richard Wagner (Other Voices, Jan. 2) he states, ". . . if Wagner wrote great music, as I think he did, why should we not embrace it fully and be nourished by it?"

While it is still unknown whether the Israel Philharmonic will "nourish" its patrons with Wagner's music, it is understandable that the symbolic association his music has with Hitler and Nazism would cause painful discord among many Israelis.

Geraldine Segal

Randallstown

Opportunity

Where is the creativity in the Board of School Commissioners and City Council? One week away from the classroom is not the equivalent of five days without education. An adult and four or five kids could go on three relevant field trips and spend two days preparing a cassette tape, video, skit, notebook, overheads, crayola drawings or whatever to summarize their ventures.

Along with the possibility of field trips, teachers could suggest locations relevant to future or current studies. This week-long window of opportunity is a a rare invitation to creativity. We miss the point entirely if we see this only as a war to be fought with politicians.

rlene M. Grove

Elkridge

Recipe

William Arwady's letter, "Recipe for recovery" (Forum, Dec. 31), uses the old Democratic "tax and spend" mentality that has now been superseded by the new, Republican "borrow, spend and pay interest" mentality.

He's right. Let's go back to the old "tax and spend" ` and put our money to work for Americans.

Charles Johnston

Pasadena

Clouded vision

As I read Tim Hudson's Dec. 31 letter, "Humbug," I felt very sad that sometimes we miss "what Christmas is all about." I am reminded of Ann Weems' poem, "In Search of Our Kneeling Places," in which she states: "In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether there is room or not...We can no longer look the other way conveniently not seeing stars, not hearing angel voices. ... In the midst of shopping sprees, let's ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts. ... Through the tinsel, let's look for the gold of the Christmas star. ... Let's listen for the brush of angel's wings. ... Let's go to Bethlehem and find our kneeling places."

So, perhaps the meaning of Christmas is an affaire de coeur with our Lord and with each other. And, sometimes, as Mr. Hudson writes, candy canes and dancing plums get in the way and cloud our vision.

Susan C. Euker

Phoenix

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