Speed-increase bill approved in New York

| 9/26/2003

Gov. George Pataki has signed a bill that could allow all vehicles to drive a little faster on New York roadways.

The legislation amends the vehicle and traffic law authorizing the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Thruway Authority to establish, where appropriate, a 65 mph speed limit on all state roadways.

The Empire State now permits all drivers to drive 65 mph on interstates and other limited access highways but requires them to slow to 55 mph on other roadways.

S1690, sponsored by Assemblyman David Gantt, D-Rochester, and Sen. Caesar Trunzo, R-Brentwood, is based on a report from NYSDOT that began in 1992 – three years before the speed limit was increased on certain state roads – and that was conducted until 1998.

According to Suffolk Life newspaper, the study found that over all the areas where the 65 mph limit is currently in use, fatal accidents decreased by 29 percent, the total accident rate dipped 4 percent and the injury accident rate dropped 5 percent.

The report includes statistical information on speed, traffic volume, accidents and percentage of commercial traffic on 1,180 miles of highway around the state where the speed limit was increased to 65 mph.

There was a 4 percent decrease in total number of speeding tickets from 800,847 to 797,851 in the six years the study was conducted, the newspaper reported. In addition, the study indicated that about 4.4 million vehicle hours of total travel time are being saved on state highways where the speed limit was raised.