Say it ain’t so, Ohio

I was recently cruising the Internet for the latest statehouse happenings that would be of interest to truckers. On any given day I come across a gamut of topics. Some could be considered juicy while some might be labeled dry.

Well, thanks to a couple of knuckleheads in the Ohio House, what popped up on my computer monitor was a bill well-suited for a nice ripe razzberry – to steal a term from my colleague Terry Scruton.

Less than two months after Gov. Ted Strickland OK’d a law doing away with split speed limits, two state lawmakers want to bring back a speed gap.

That’s right. Democratic Reps. Tim DeGeeter of Parma and Dan Dodd of Hebron have introduced a bill that would allow motorists to drive 70 mph on rural stretches of interstates – up from 65 mph.

Trucks, which have been required to drive 55 mph on the same portions of roadway, were cleared July 1 to travel 65 mph.

The bill sponsors say one of the benefits of a 5 mph differential is that it would once again allow motorists to go faster around trucks.

“I think some of it’s a safety issue. They feel safer if they are able to get around trucks,” Dodd told WCMH-TV in Columbus, OH.

As you would expect, the lawmaker’s response went over like a lead balloon with OOIDA, which fought for several years to have the speed differential in the state eliminated. Research collected by the Association concludes that the difference in vehicle speeds, not excessive speed, contributes to accidents. Collisions occur when trucks and cars must change lanes and pass more frequently.

“The only speed limit policy that makes sense is to have all vehicles traveling at the same speed,” said OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer.

Reading the comments of Spencer and Dodd leaves me with one prevailing thought: Thank goodness for OOIDA’s work in Ohio on this issue. The Association’s use of well-thought-out reasoning and research to support their view is the perfect antidote to the simplistic “must pass truck” approach that some at the Ohio House are hopeful will win over lawmakers. LL