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     Limit: The point, edge or line beyond which something cannot or may not proceed. – American Heritage Dictionary

In a different time, when I was a parent and not a grandparent, we used to talk about “limits” to our children.

Check with Webster’s and you’ll find that “limit” means something that “bounds, restrains or confines.”

As in, no, you can’t stay out until 2 a.m. just because your friends are having a party after the game at their house.

The new 80-mile-per-hour speed “limit” in our state – in specified areas – is the latest dust-up related to safety and efficiencies. Critics have been taking potshots at the higher limit since it went into effect in March, and some areas of the interstates may see a dialing back in heavier traffic areas.

Me? I’m all for it. The higher speed limit, that is.

Driving 80 instead of 75 gets me where I want to go all the quicker. And, since most of my driving is on I-90, where traffic is relatively light, say, compared to I-80, why not drive 80?

Critics say it is less safe, and more fuel is used. I don’t know about less safe, since the reports from Texas, Utah, Wyoming and Montana, which allow the 80 mph speed in designated areas, have not seen higher accident rates. But there is little doubt that my pickup gets lower mileage at a higher speed.  And so? Isn’t that my decision and not the government’s? If I want to buy steak instead of hamburger, who is the government to say no?

Moreover, it is to the state’s benefit for me to purchase a greater quantity of fuel because of my high rate of speed. Lower mileage equals more fuel equals more gasoline tax revenue for the state.

Some have alleged — and Rapid City lawmaker Brian Gosch has not denied it — that one of the reasons for the higher speed limit is to generate more dollars for the state because of more consumption.  To which I say, again, so what? The state gets what it wants – more money – and I get what I want, a faster route to see my grandchildren.

The state Highway Patrol says it no longer is allowing a 3-5 miles per hour cushion for speeds over the limit.  That’s OK. Enforce the limit  — and the law.

April 28, 2015