Speed limit update

by Ruth Jones
Senior Editor

Speed proposals still split in Indiana

SB 0267, authored by Sen. William Alexa, calls for raising speed limits for passenger vehicles only to 70 mph on rural interstate highways. This bill does not change truck speeds, which are currently 60 mph. The bill also proposes to prohibit any vehicle traveling less than the posted speed limit from driving in the left lane of a multi-lane highway if it impedes the flow of traffic. The Senate Committee on Corrections, Criminal and Civil Procedures passed Sen. Alexa's bill on Jan. 28.

HB 1207, introduced by Rep. David Wolkins, will raise speed limits for passenger vehicles to 70 mph, and increase speed limits for trucks (to 65 mph) if it becomes law. Wolkins' bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Roads and Transportation. Indiana truckers are urged to contact their legislators immediately and urge them to support uniform speed limits for all vehicles. The general information numbers for the Indiana legislature are (Senate) 317-232-9400 and (House) 317-232-9600.

Uniform speed limit legislation fails in Montana

Early in February, the Montana Senate passed legislation calling for a uniform 75 mph for all vehicles day and night on rural interstate highways by a vote of 48 to 2. However, when the bill reached the House floor, representatives deleted the uniform speed provision for trucks, leaving the truck speed limit at 65 mph (day and night). The House passed the amended version 73 to 27 on Feb. 16, and sent it back to the Senate. In an almost total reversal of their earlier vote, senators passed the amended version 42 to 8 on Feb. 23. Gov. Marc Racicot signed the bill into law on Feb. 24. Speed limits under the new bill will be 75 mph for cars and light trucks on rural interstates and 65 mph for heavy trucks. On other highways, speed limits for cars and light trucks will be 70 mph in the daytime and 65 mph at night, while heavy trucks will be restricted to 60 mph during daylight hours, and 55 mph at night. The law takes effect May 28.

Uniform speed on the agenda in Texas

On Jan. 14, Rep. Carl Isett of Lubbock filed a bill to eliminate differential speed limits for cars and trucks in the Lone Star State. HB 676 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee, but has not yet been scheduled for a hearing. Texas truckers who support the safety of uniform speed limits should contact their state lawmakers, especially the members of the House Transportation Committee, and urge them to vote in favor of this measure. Texas legislature information numbers are (general information) 512-463-4630, (Senate) 512-463-0063, and (House) 512-463-0845.

Legislator wants split speeds in New Mexico

Sen. Skip Vernon is planning another effort to create differe ntial speed limits for trucks. Vernon has introduced legislation (S. 301) to mandate 65 mph for trucks on rural interstates. (Vernon's 1997 bill passed the legislature, but was vetoed by the Governor.) New Mexico Highway Department engineers who believe that differential speeds are more dangerous, again oppose Vernon. Published reports indicate that the New Mexico Motor Carriers Association will also oppose Vernon's efforts. New Mexico legislature information numbers are (general information) 505-986-4600, (Senate) 505-986-4714, and (House) 505-986-4751.

Ohio will once again consider uniform speeds

Rep. Ron Hood has introduced a bill that will implement uniform speed limits on Ohio's interstates if it becomes law. HB 11 is co-sponsored by Reps. Callender, Lawrence, Logan, Mottley, Young, Taylor, and Van Vyven. A companion bill is expected to be introduced in the Senate soon.

A proponent hearing for HB 11 is tentatively scheduled for Mar. 9. If you are an Ohio resident and can attend this hearing, please contact OOIDA's Ohio representative Joan Kasicki at 216-252-2274 to coordinate. If you cannot attend the hearing, you are encouraged to contact your elected representatives and urge them to support safer, uniform speed limits for Ohio's interstates. Ohio legislature information numbers are (general information) 614-466-8842, (Senate) 614-466-4900, and (House) 614-466-3357.

South Carolina may raise speed limits

Two bills calling for uniform speed limits of 70 mph on rural interstates have been introduced. S 0263, authored by Sen. Harvey Peeler, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation. H 3188 (Rep. Jake Knotts) has been referred to the House Committee on Education and Public Works. Rep. Terry Haskins has introduced a bill (H 3119) that simply calls for a repeal of the national speed limit so speed limits may be raised. H 3119 has also been referred to the House Committee on Education and Public Works. Legislative information numbers are (Senate) 803-212-6700 and (House) 803-734-2010.

Georgia wants to split speed limits

HB 363, sponsored by Reps. Stephens, Martin and Scarlett, calls for split speed limits on certain highways, claiming 70 mph on rural interstates isn't fast enough–for cars, that is. The bill will raise the maximum speed limit to 75 mph on federal (divided) interstates, but limit trucks with more than six wheels to a maximum of 70 mph. HB 363 has been assigned to the Motor Vehicle Committee, chaired by Rep. Bobby Parham. The number for the House is 404-656-5082.