DOT Reduces Another 55 MPH Zone on Hwy 70 North of Beaufort

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The state department of transportation reduced speed limits in Bettie from 55 mph to 50 mph today.

The new 50 mph stretch runs between the North River Bridge and Ward’s Creek Bridge and is lined with dozens of driveways and several side roads.

The reduction comes a few weeks after NCDOT made the same reduction to the speed limit between the north end of the Beaufort Bypass and the Beaufort Club subdivision.

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So, what’s the deal with such a small reduction in speed? We’re waiting on an official answer from NC DOT, but the decision may be based on studies such as this 2018 Penn State study.

According to the study, setting a speed limit 5 mph below engineering recommendations reduces fatal, injury-causing and property-damaging crashes.

So, why didn’t NCDOT make the jump down to 45 mph?

Researchers found that reductions more than 5 mph under engineering recommendations increased crashes and lowered speed limit compliance.

Here’s a simplified way to look at it: Road type, size and location give drivers a “feel” for how fast they should travel on any given stretch of roadway. If speed limits are reduced too far beyond that “feel,” they’re more likely to be irritated by it and drive more recklessly.

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We’ll update with NCDOT’s official explanation.