The History of Speed Limits


They say that sometimes rules are meant to be broken, however it’s important to thoroughly assess what those rules are beforehand, and how breaking them can affect you and others. Speed limits are put in place to help better regulate traffic and ensure that all those who are operating a vehicle on the road are held to a speed that is deemed safe for the particular area.

Not everyone agrees with the speed limits placed in certain areas however, but understanding the history by which speed limits first came to be in the first place offers some important insight. Let us help you get up to speed:

‘The first internal combustion-propelled car may have chugged out of Karl Benz’s workshop back in 1886, but it took until 1901 for a U.S. state to decide that the automobile could be dangerous if driven at speed. And in reaching this conclusion, on May 21, 1901, Connecticut became the first U.S. state to introduce speed limits for the car of 12mph in the city and 15mph in the countryside.

Thanks to myriad workshop tinkerers and other self-taught engineers that earned the country the title of workshop of the world, in the UK in the late 1800s there were a host of self-propelled vehicles on the road — powered by everything from steam to electricity — and they were considered so dangerous that the Red Flag act was passed, stipulating that around town these vehicles could only travel at 2mph and in some cases with a person walking in front waving a red flag to warn townsfolk. Meanwhile, the first paper speeding ticket was issued in Ohio in 1904 to Harry Mayers for traveling at 12mph.

Racing forward to today and the speeding ticket has become part of modern life. In the U.S., 41 million tickets are issued every year, while in England in 2014 alone, 115,000 drivers were caught with an automatic speed camera and fined over £100 via the courts.’ (source:

We’ve come a long way since the first speed limits were set, but their application in the modern world is more relevant than ever.  As technology continues to make vehicles faster and more efficient, it becomes that much more important to have control over them to keep yourself safe. Another way to ensure optimized safety on the road is to make sure your vehicle is protected with effective auto insurance coverage. Let us earn your trust.

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