Arizona bill to split car and truck speeds dies

| 4/9/2008

A bill that has died in the Arizona House sought to require large trucks traveling along certain stretches of interstates to slow down by 5 mph. It missed a deadline to advance from committee, effectively killing it for the year.

State law now allows all traffic to drive 65 mph on interstate highways outside urban areas with populations of at least 50,000. The Arizona Department of Transportation also can set speeds on rural portions of interstates at 75 mph.

Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, introduced a bill that would have slowed large trucks by 5 mph along interstates posted with 65 mph speed limits. The measure – HB2314 – required vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds declared gross weight to drive 60 mph.

All other vehicles would have been allowed to continue to travel at the current 65 mph speed limit.

Supporters said requiring trucks to drive at speeds slower than over vehicles would make for safer travel.

Opponents said slowing trucks down to speeds slower than other vehicles does not promote safety on the highways. In fact, they said it does exactly the opposite by requiring that vehicles are constantly in conflict with each other.

Word of the bill’s demise was well received by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer pointed out that 40 states now have uniform speed limits for all vehicles using their highways. “The only speed limit policy that makes any sense is the kind that has all vehicles traveling at the same speed,” he told Land Line.

The effort to reduce truck speed limits can be brought back for consideration during the 2009 session.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Arizona, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor