Recent columns designed to make us more aware of air pollution along the Wasatch Front and letters to the editor concerning the subject all largely ignore the major problem and subsequent simple solution. Automobiles continue to be the primary source of air pollutants and Utahns' obsession with speed is a major contributing factor.
Numerous studies on file with the Utah Division of Air Quality show that speeds above 50 mph increase pollutants by roughly 5 percent per each 5 mph of speed. Thus, 65 mph contributes 15 percent more pollutants to the air. When was the last time you saw somebody driving the posted speed limit on the freeway? Speeds of 75 mph are much nearer the average.
A zero tolerance speed limit of 65 mph would greatly reduce air pollution, and subsequent reduction of speed limits if enforced would do more to improve our air quality than any other single measure could provide as quickly. Wake up and slow down, Utahns, or forfeit your right to complain about air quality.
Donald E. Curtis