Ted Kulongoski has signed legislation clearing the way for increased
speed limits on Oregon’s freeways.
speed limit measure, which takes effect Jan. 1, allows the Oregon
Transportation Department to raise the speed limit on certain sections
of rural interstates to 65 mph for trucks and 70 mph for cars. Those
limits are currently 55 and 65, respectively.
bill’s passage doesn’t guarantee higher speeds.
should be made clear to the public that the legislation itself requires
that speeds can be raised only if engineering and traffic investigation
indicates that a speed increase is reasonable and safe,” Kulongoski
wrote in a letter to Oregon Transportation Commission Chair Stuart
Foster after signing the bill Sept. 26. “In other words, HB2661
mandates that speeds be increased only if objective evidence exists
that an increase is reasonable and safe.”
Randy Miller, R-Lake Oswego, tried and failed several times over
the past decade to introduce similar bills, but then-Gov. John Kitzhaber
blocked all of them. Kitzhaber feared faster speeds would lead to
more highway deaths, The Bend Bulletin reported.
Spencer, executive vice president of the Owner-Operator Independent
Drivers Association, which sought the aid of professional truck
drivers to influence lawmakers and the governor to endorse the legislation
reducing the speed gap, said the bill benefits highway safety.
we would have preferred the legislation totally eliminate the split
between cars and trucks, a 5 mph differential is better than 10.
In addition, I suspect the higher limits will result in less speed
variance between cars since a 70 mph limit will more closely match
speeds already being driven,” Spencer said.
new law also allows the department to change freeway speeds in urban
areas, where the limit now is 55 mph, Salem, OR’s KATU reported.
Keith Goble, staff writer
Goble can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.