An effort is again underway at the Missouri statehouse to increase speeds along certain roadways in the state. Officials with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say it’s imperative for road safety that any changes made to driving speeds promote uniformity.
Rep. Mike Kelley, R-Lamar, filed a bill for the regular session that begins on Wednesday, Jan. 7, that could result in speed limits being raised from 70 to 75 mph for all vehicles on rural stretches of interstates and freeways.
The Missouri Department of Transportation would have the final say on any speed changes.
If approved, the Show-Me State would join 16 other states to authorize speeds of at least 75 mph. Only two of those states (Idaho and Montana) allow cars to travel one speed, at 75 mph, while keeping trucks at a slower speed, 65 mph.
Kelley also sought the 5 mph speed boost during the 2014 session. The House Transportation Committee approved the bill, but it died without receiving a vote on the House floor. He is bringing the bill back for consideration in an effort to match the state’s maximum speed with neighboring Kansas and Oklahoma.
Truckers have voiced concern that higher speed limits result in a wider disparity between the posted speed and how fast many speed-limited trucks can travel.
OOIDA officials say that roadways are safer when all vehicles are permitted to travel at the same rate of speed. On Monday, Jan. 5, the Association sent communication to Rep. Kelley requesting that state lawmakers maintain uniform speeds, regardless of any increase or decrease to existing speed limits.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s director of state legislative affairs, said that differential speed limits create more interactions between cars and trucks, which can potentially lead to an increase in the number and severity of accidents.
“They are also a contributing factor to increased congestion, diesel emissions, and inefficiencies with local, regional, and national goods movement,” Matousek said.
The bill, HB295, awaits assignment to committee.
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