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New Jersey Man Launches Petition To Raise Garden State Parkway Speed Limit

LAKEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Drivers want the green light raising the speed limit on how fast they can go on the Garden State Parkway.

As CBS2's Meg Baker reported Thursday, an online petition calls for the speed limit to increase from 65 mph to 75 mph. But some lawmakers say, not so fast.

Twenty years ago, the state bumped up the speed limit on parts of the Parkway from 55 mph to 65 mph.

Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, tried unsuccessfully in the past to raise the speed limit to 75, citing traffic studies that claimed there would be fewer lane changes and therefore fewer accidents.

But the movement never really picked up enough speed.

Now, Lakewood resident Mendel Rosenfeld is revisiting the idea, starting a petition on to bump up the speed limit by 10 mph.

But reaction from drivers who talked to CBS2's Meg Baker, WCBS 880's Sean Adams, 1010 WINS' John Montone was mixed.

"I'd keep it at 65, That's more than enough because people are going to go faster than that," one man said.

"Good idea, I say they're already running 75," another man said.

"Traffic now allows you to go 75 I don't think it allows you go 85," one woman said.

"They're doing it anyway, I don't think it really matters," another woman said.

"I lived in Texas for a long time and that was a perfectly acceptable speed limit," a woman, named Deborah, said.

"I'm doing the speed limit. They are all passing me like I'm standing still," John Mix said at the Cheesequake rest stop.

"It seems like everybody's doing 75 now anyway, so I probably wouldn't have a qualm with it," Joe Ferrara.

But AAA spokeswoman Cathleen Lewis said there would be more involved than just declaring a higher speed limit. It has to do with the engineering of the roadway, she said.

"How many twists and turns in road; what the terrain looks like," Lewis said.

Much of the parkway is 65 mph, but there are portions where the speed limit is 55. An increase to 75 would be a big jump, and there are other factors to consider.

"How quickly people are going to have to maneuver – are the exits? Are there rest stops? Are there quick turns that people are going to get over for?" Lewis said. Those all have to be part of the factors."

Assemblyman O'Scanlon said he has been working on legislation to determine safe speeds.

"Traffic safety engineers will tell you that the best way to set speed limits is you measure free-flowing traffic set the speed limit at or below what 85 percent of people are driving. You'll get safest, smoothest flow of traffic," O'Scanlon said.

O'Scanlon said knows most drivers are going over 65 mph as it is.

According to AAA, 94 percent of crashes are based on human error – the faster you go, the more likely you are to be injured or have a fatal crash. When a heavy object is going fast, it creates more damage – that is just pure physics.

O'Scanlon further said the speed limit cannot be changed on the entire highway, because conditions vary widely from crowded Bergen County down to Pinelands.

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