Sheriff Young has no issue with increased speed limit

The foot can now press a little harder on the gas pedal on some stretches of U.S. 84 in Grady County thanks to a higher speed limit. The state has raised the limit by 10 miles per hour from 55 to 65 in some areas.
“I think 65 is a good speed,” says Grady County Sheriff Harry Young, “since it’s four-lane that’s a safe speed; you don’t have oncoming traffic and there’s no worry about a head-on collision.”
Sheriff Young also points out that U.S. 84 has a 65 mph speed limit in other counties. He says, before, travelers driving from Valdosta were often caught off-guard by the 55 mph speed limit between Thomasville and Bainbridge.
Those motorists can now expect a continuation of the 55/65 mph combination as they continue west from Thomasville.
The Georgia Department of Transportation raised the limit from the west side of Thomasville to the east side of Bainbridge based on the results of a recent study.
Traffic Operations with Georgia DOT conducted the engineering and traffic study in May. Engineers recorded the speeds of vehicles, studied the roadway topography, reviewed accident history and considered vehicle volumes and other pertinent information at numerous locations along the route.
“We found that the operating speeds were fairly high and in order to eliminate the possibility of having greater than desired speed differentials, the decision was made to raise the speed limit,” District Traffic Engineer Van Mason said.
Studies have found that safest conditions exist when vehicles are not traveling at widely differing speeds because faster moving vehicles aren’t attempting as many lane changes or passing maneuvers to get around slower moving vehicles. That reduces the chance of collision.
Drivers should not be concerned that raising the limit will result in speeds much higher than 65 mph, Mason said. Engineers have found that raising the limit doesn’t increase the average operator’s speed by more than two or three miles per hour.  
“Studies have shown operator speeds do not increase based on the speed limit as the majority of operators drive at a speed they are comfortable driving regardless of the posted speed,” Mason said.
Sheriff Young agrees saying,”I’ve noticed just driving in the morning patrolling that people ride 60 to 62 anyway. I don’t think people are going to go much faster.”
In conjunction with the change in the speed limit, Georgia DOT has responded to public concerns about the safety of drivers on SR 262 in Climax who cross U.S. 84. Maintenance crews extended the lane lines in the median crossover to help motorists on SR 262 judge the distance they have to travel in order to cross the intersection, Mason said. The striping was complete Friday.
While the speed limit was raised along the majority of the U.S. 84 route, there are isolated areas where it did not change, such as rural to urban area transitions.

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