Responding to the article “Speed limit on much of I-295 rises to 70 mph, and Maine Turnpike is next” (May 28): I have real concerns about state officials’ justification of an increase in the speed limit.

Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt is stated as saying the new limit better reflects the speed at which motorists are actually traveling on the state’s divided highways. Call me confused, but how does breaking the existing speed limit justify its increase?

While I understand the rationale that it’s much safer if the operating speed and the posted speed are close together, I do not understand a change that reflects drivers’ flouting of the law. What happened to enforcement of the existing limits?

Congress lowered the speed limit to conserve energy in response to the oil crisis in 1973. Shouldn’t we, as consumers, be thinking about that very issue now, given the price of gas and our reliance on oil resources?

Of course, increasing speeds is a positive change for drivers wanting to get home from a long day of work, or wanting to get from Point A to Point B in a hurry.

But will they increase the space needed to avoid an accident at higher speeds? Increased speed can only mean the necessity of increased reaction time.

While Mr. Bernhardt stated he does not expect people to start driving faster because of the higher speed limit, it appears to be a reality now. Sixty-five mph has become 70 mph due to drivers habits. Will 70 mph become 75 or 80 mph as they become more comfortable with the new limit?

People driving, or doing anything else for that matter, at their comfort level is never a justification for a change in a law promulgated for the common good.

Ellen Pettingill

Bath