on Iowa’s rural interstates would legally be able to drive a little faster
under a bill that narrowly cleared a state Senate panel Wednesday, April 6. In
exchange, there could be a heftier price to pay if the new limits are exceeded.
Senate Transportation Committee voted 7-5 to send the issue to the full Senate
for debate, but stopped short of recommending its approval.
the bill, which passed the House 51-49 March 31, the speed limit on Iowa’s
four-lane expressways would increase from 65 mph to 70 mph for all vehicles.
fines and fees on roads posted at 55 mph and above would nearly double. Some of
the revenue generated would be used to help replace Iowa State Patrol cars
during the next four years.
court system would get in excess of $7 million a year from the additional fines
the bill has moved through the House and Senate, opponents have contended the
higher limit would lead to more accidents. Supporters say the measure is about
safety – ensuring more vehicles on the road travel at similar speeds.
Dave Tjepkes, R-Gowrie, recently told The Quad-City Times studies have
shown that drivers travel interstate highways in Iowa at an average speed of 71
mph regardless of whether the posted speed limit is 65 or 70.
discounts claims that higher speeds would lead to more traffic accidents on
Iowa interstates. Tjepkes said a higher speed limit would help drivers maintain
close to the same speed and reduce passing.
where the accidents happen,” he told the newspaper.
a former Iowa State Patrol trooper, said the stiffer fines would act as a
deterrent to higher speeds.
group that has fought to have provisions in the bill changed is the Iowa Motor
group’s president, Scott Weiser, recently told Land Line he couldn’t
find anything in the bill he likes.
bill is very, very bad public policy. It’s like, ‘Let me write a ticket for my
new car.’ It’s not good for the patrol or anyone else involved,” Weiser said.
addition, Weiser said he is working to persuade lawmakers to keep truck speeds
at the current limit, which could lead to a split speed limit on portions of
Interstates 80, 35 and 380.
policy is to support 65 mph for trucks. It doesn’t speak to anything else. Our
board doesn’t address speeds for other vehicles,” he said. Weiser also said a
70 mph truck speed limit would adversely affect fuel efficiency, maintenance
Todd Spencer, executive vice president for OOIDA, said any effort that would
require trucks to drive at speeds slower than other vehicles does not promote
safety on the highways.
does exactly the opposite by requiring that vehicles are constantly in conflict
with each other. Lane changes and passing are constantly required to avoid
crashes,” Spencer said.
some may suggest that having slower speed limits for trucks can somehow promote
safety, there is much research to suggest otherwise. Forty states currently
have uniform speed limits for all vehicles using their highways.”
the bill clears the Senate, it will go to Gov. Tom Vilsack’s desk, where it
will face a likely veto.
a Democrat, said he disagreed with combining a speed-limit increase with
funding courts and state patrol vehicles.
“I don’t think its good public policy to
connect the two. I don’t want people suggesting that the reason why we are
taking a look at these issues is driven by revenue,” he told The Des Moines
said he did support higher speeding fines and he favored more money for trooper
cars and updated equipment as a separate issue.
is expected for debate before the full Senate as early as next week.
--By Keith Goble, state legislative editor