Indiana governor approves increase in speeds

| 5/10/2005

All drivers in Indiana will soon be allowed to travel a little faster on various roadways in the state, thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Mitch Daniels May 6.

The new law – previously SB217 – takes effect July 1, but it might take transportation officials longer to decide precisely where the higher limits will be allowed. The Indiana Department of Transportation must pore over highway blueprints to determine which highways can safely handle them.

In general, the new law increases the speed limit to 65 mph for large trucks and 70 mph for all other vehicles on rural interstates and the Indiana Toll Road. Limits on rural stretches of divided, four-lane highways such as U.S. 31 and U.S. 41 will increase for all vehicles to 60 mph if approved by transportation officials.

Current limits are 60 mph for trucks and 65 mph for cars on rural interstates and the toll road and 55 mph for all vehicles on other four-lane roads.

Limits on freeways built to interstate standards, including the U.S. bypass near South Bend, will likely go from 55 mph to 65 mph.

In exchange for higher speeds, drivers pulled over for speeding will pay more in court fees to cover salaries for the state’s judges and prosecutors.

The State Police also will be required to log traffic fatalities that occur on interstates and divided highways so lawmakers will have data to help them evaluate the law’s effect on highway deaths.

As many as 2,100 speed limit signs will need to be updated throughout the state, which could cost taxpayers about $160,000, The Fort Wayne News-Sentinel reported.