A bill in the Wisconsin Legislature would allow drivers on certain
highways in the state to cruise along at speeds 10 mph faster than the current
Sponsored by Sen. Tom Reynolds, R-West Allis, the measure would raise
the state’s 65 mph speed limit on rural interstates and expressways to 75 mph.
“We have an artificially low speed limit at 65,” Reynolds recently told
the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,
noting that drivers already exceed that limit.
He said the higher limit would lead to safer roads because all drivers
would travel at the same speed.
Opponents, including chairs of the Assembly and Senate transportation
panels, have raised concerns that the move could increase traffic fatalities.
Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle also cited safety concerns when asked about the
Eric Skrum, a spokesman for the National Motorists Association, a
Wisconsin-based group, said his organization supports the higher limit.
“This is going to make the roads safer,” Skrum told Land Line.
The National Motorists Association advocates setting the speed limit at
the “85th percentile,” the top speed traveled by 85 percent of
On rural freeways in the state, Skrum said that is 75 mph – a figure
verified by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. He said raising the
speed limit from 65 would mean that more people would be driving the same
“Traffic will flow much smoother. You will have less weaving in and out
of traffic, less tailgating and less congestion because the majority of the
traffic is going roughly the same speed. It’s a safer driving environment,”
Skrum said. “Speed doesn’t kill. It’s the speed differential that causes
The bill – SB270 – is in the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and
– By Keith
Goble, state legislative editor