Jersey Department of Transportation has taken a proposal to use split speed
limits on the state’s highways off the table, a spokeswoman for the DOT
told Land Line Feb. 20.
speed limit proposal would have placed cars at 65 mph while trucks would
have been restricted to 55 mph.
spokeswoman for the DOT, said a committee that included officials from
the trucking industry, AAA, the New Jersey DOT, the state police, the Federal
Highway Administration and other transportation related groups had considered
the idea, but rejected it in early February after examining studies on
was formed at the request of Gov. James McGreevey in November after three
crashes involving cars and tractor-trailers Nov. 20 resulted in three deaths.
Officials in New Jersey have indicated that at least two of the accidents
were not the fault of the truckdrivers.
was to make it a collaborative effort, to draw on everyone’s expertise,” Farenski
decided to tackle highway safety through three avenues: enforcement, education
and engineering. After meeting for several months and looking at a number
of studies regarding split speed limits, including some developed by AAA,
the panel decided against implementing split speed limits on the state’s
feel that a dual speed limit would be effective here in New Jersey,” Farneski
said. “Our highways are narrower than other states; California has it,
but California has notoriously wide interstates, and the interchanges are
very spaced out.
they’re not. We have narrow highways and the interchanges are very close,” she
said. “We were afraid this would create more problems, more accidents by
having the dual truck speed limit. We simply have too many vehicles on
our roads for this to be effective.”
made no announcement regarding the decision, Farneski said. The action
came to light after a local reporter contacted the DOT regarding the dual
the DOT’s action, the battle over split speeds in the state may not be
this year, state Assemblywoman Connie Myers, R-Hunterdon and Warren counties,
introduced A3127, a bill that would create a split speed limit in the state,
slowing trucks from 65 mph to 55 mph on New Jersey highways.
through a spokeswoman that the DOT’s decision would have no effect on her
support of the bill, which is now before the Assembly Transportation Committee.
said if the bill passed, the DOT would then implement and enforce the split
speed limits in the state. While the DOT has decided not to implement the
split on its own, Transportation Commission Jack Lettiere does not typically
take a position on bills in the General Assembly.
accidents that occurred Nov. 20 spurred considerable public reaction in
New Jersey. Sgt. Kevin Rehmann of the New Jersey State Police said one
person died in a crash on Route 78 in Lebanon; no one was hurt in the second
wreck, on I-80, which held up traffic for hours; and the third wreck ended
with two people dead on Route 287 in Franklin Township.
Sica, a spokeswoman for NJDOT, told Land Line earlier that officials
in the DOT committee did not find any common problem that had a role in
the three accidents, or any indication that the tractor-trailers involved
violated safety rules.
H. Reddig, associate editor