Gov. Ernie Fletcher wants to allow drivers in
to drive a
little faster on certain roadways. In return, he wants tougher rules on
During his annual State of the Commonwealth speech to the
General Assembly Monday, Jan. 9, the Republican governor called for legislation
that would make driving without a seat belt a primary offense along with
increasing the speed limit on interstates and major state highways to 70 mph – up from the current 65 mph.
“Studies suggest this will not negatively impact highway
safety,” Fletcher told lawmakers.
House Speaker Jody Richards said the higher limit makes a
lot of sense and could draw a lot of consideration.
“Most people drive 70 anyway,” Richards, D-Bowling Green,
told The Associated Press. “I think
that will pass the House.”
In addition to the 70 mph effort, Rep. Rob Wilkey,
D-Scottsville, has introduced a bill that would permit drivers to travel 65 mph
on the state’s four-lane highways – up from the current 60 mph limit. The bill
– HB95 – is in the House Transportation Committee.
The stricter seat-belt rule would permit police to pull over
drivers solely for failure to buckle up. Currently, law enforcement can issue
seat-belt citations to drivers only after stopping a vehicle for another traffic
violation, such as speeding.
“Folks,” Fletcher said, “it’s time for a primary seat-belt
The governor said a primary law could save 62 lives in the
first year. In addition, it would provide the state with an extra $11 million
in federal highway dollars each year for road safety projects, such as guard
rails, he said.
The seat-belt bill – HB106 – is in the House Transportation