Ohio senator introduces state’s second uniform speed bill

| 5/27/2003

Ohio state Sen. Lynn Wachtmann on May 21 introduced the state’s second bill in a week calling for the end of split speed limits.

SB94 would eliminate provisions in Ohio law that set up a slower speed for vehicles with a gross weight of more than 8,000 pounds.

Currently, those vehicles are required to travel 55 mph – 10 mph below the 65 mph limit for other vehicles. Under the new bill, all vehicles would have a 65 mph speed limit. Highways in urban areas would remain at 55 mph for big rigs.

Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville, introduced identical legislation – HB186 – in the House May 14.

“Studies indicate that highways are safer when all motorists travel at the same general rate of speed,” Wachtmann, R-Napoleon, said in a statement. “Differences in speed between trucks and cars create unsafe highways.”

Research collected by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association concludes that the difference in vehicle speeds, not excessive speed, contributes to accidents. Collisions occur when trucks and cars must change lanes and pass more frequently.

OOIDA reports that Ohio has the fifth highest volume of truck traffic in the United States.

“Given the amount of truck travel in our state, it is crucial that we implement strategies that will continue to decrease accidents and protect all motorists on Ohio’s roadways,” Gibbs said in a statement. “Many states have a uniform speed limit for cars and trucks and have seen a decrease in certain types of accidents.”