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I want to respond to the June 18 article by Patricia B. Adduci, commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles in which she states that speed on the highway kills.

First, she completely rejects the arguments put forth by Citizens for Rational Traffic Laws as being misleading and questionable, and she casts aspersions on their credentials. However, she never in any way rebuts any of their arguments, preferring instead to attack the organization.

Here are some of the facts that she left out. One of the main reasons that New York State would not like to see the speed limit raised is because New York State makes a lot of money in speeding fines.

In states where the limit has been raised to 65 mph and the roadways are free, the volume of traffic has increased significantly because drivers like to save time and money. The increased volume easily accounts for the alleged increase in traffic accidents and deaths.

Studies in other states where the limits have been raised to 65 mph show only a marginal 1 to 2 mph increase in average speeds traveled by motorists.

I really question Commissioner Adduci's recent public opinion poll that purports to show that 61 percent of motorists favored the 55 mph limit. If this were so, there would be no explanation as to why practically all motorists drive 65 mph on interstate highways.

She again quotes the drop in deaths when speed limits were dropped during the Arab oil embargo in 1972 as justification for maintaining that limit today. But the most obvious explanation is that the decline in miles driven was the reason for the decline in deaths.

Our state highway system was built in the late 1950s and 1960s, and regularly accommodated legal speeds of 65 mph and higher. In those days, cars had poorer suspensions, poorer steering, poorer brakes and tires. Today's autos are designed to be driven safely at higher speeds.

Commissioner Adduci should use her powers to toughen the tests given to new drivers. I have observed a marked decline in the abilities of drivers over the past 20 years. It seems that nobody fails a driver's test anymore. She could also tighten the rules on drunken driving.

Citizens for Rational Traffic Laws

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