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Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: The need for speed (WWII) edition

Editor’s Notebook: The need for speed (WWII) edition

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A week or so back, I noted that, in a Sun Gazette local-history item from the late 1970s, it was recorded that Virginians were the most likely, among residents of the 50 states, to adhere to the 55-mph speed limit that had been imposed nationally to deal with the oil crises of that unpleasant era.

But take the wayback machine another 30 years into the past, and Virginians were not so willing to eschew their need for speed.

In 1943, Virginia officials had decided that, to save on gasoline use during the war (the big one … it was in all the papers at the time), they were going to limit the speed on state highways to a meager 35 mph. (Before the war, apparently there was no speed limit on Va. highways, although those who were going too fast could be cited for reckless driving at the discretion of troopers and police.)


That same article from that edition of the Northern Virginia Sun back in 1943 also noted that Virginia drivers were widely flouting the new limitation. And one can understand why: Clearly nobody wanted the Axis powers to win the war, of course, but limiting speed to 35 mph on a highway, even a 1940s-era highway? That’s not the Amurrica we know and love.

SPEAKING OF THE NEED FOR SPEED: She’s 96 now, and Queen Elizabeth II is definitely slowing down a bit. But now she’s got a new tool at her disposal to satisfy her hankering to keep moving forward.

The queen has been given a new 4-person vehicle akin to a golf cart, one that is capable of going up to 43 mph. So if I were Prince Charles, I’d keep out of her line of fire, as she might gun it in order to create a vacancy in the line of succession. Just a little royal humor there, although it’s a sure bet he has never been the favorite among her children.

And let’s not forget, back when Queen Elizabeth was a mere princess (just like me!), she was an auto mechanic in the British military during WWII. The woman not only owns England, Scotland, Canada, Australia and the like … she knows her way around a carburetor and transmission, too.

  • Scott McCaffrey

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