South Carolina lawmaker feels need for speed

| 11/20/2009

If a South Carolina state lawmaker gets his way, all vehicles on interstates in the state would get the go-ahead to zip along at higher speeds.

Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, has prefiled a bill for consideration during the 2010 regular session that would boost the speed limit along interstates and freeways from 70 mph to 80 mph.

If approved, South Carolina would have a speed limit at least 10 mph higher than anywhere else in the Southeast.

However, it is likely to be difficult to find many in favor of such a jump in speeds. Count owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Bill Boyd of Mount Pleasant, SC, among those in opposition.

“I totally disagree with upping the speed limit in this part of the country. It doesn’t make any sense at all. A speed limit of 70 mph on the open interstate is plenty,” Boyd told Land Line.

Rutherford insists the change won’t cause problems because drivers are already driving around 80 mph, he told The State newspaper. He says the change would allow law enforcement to focus on other matters, such as aggressive and drunken driving.

Boyd said he believes Rutherford is overstating the frequency of people driving around 80 mph.

“That’s not true. There’s a few that will. But for the most part people are going to drive somewhere between 60 and 70. Unfortunately, I’ve seen some people who want to run 55 and 60 in a 70 mph speed zone and that’s also unsafe. But I think our speed limits in the state right now are pretty much where they should be,” Boyd said.

Two other bills to get prefiled would prohibit text messaging and limit cell phone use while driving to hands free devices.

The texting bill – H4189 – cell phone bill – H4190 – and speed limit bill – H4185 – have been referred to the House Education and Public Works Committee where they can be considered during the session, which convenes Jan. 12.

To view other legislative activities of interest for South Carolina in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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