Idaho lawmaker pulls bill to eliminate split speed limits

| 2/15/2006

An Idaho state lawmaker who introduced a bill that would do away with the state’s split-speed limit on interstate highways has pulled the bill.

Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, asked the Senate Transportation Committee Tuesday, Feb. 14, to drop all consideration for the bill, effectively killing it.

Corder, a trucking company owner, told “Land Line Now” that the only reason he introduced the bill was to spark a thorough discussion of split speeds.

The bill, SB1349, called for allowing large trucks to travel up to 75 mph – the same limit as all other vehicles. Currently, big rigs are limited to 65 mph on the affected roadways.

Corder said the lower limit for vehicles with five or more axles operating at a gross weight of more than 26,000 pounds is cause for concern.

“Differentials (in) speeds cause people to change lanes more often. … There are more difficulties caused by sideswipes and people changing lanes abruptly because people realize someone is going much slower in front of them. So, there are more lane changes going on,” Corder told “Land Line Now.”

“And with trucking companies setting their trucks not to exceed maximum speeds for trucks, we see the differential climbing as well, and it’s not just 5 or 10, but as much as 15 mph or greater for the differential. That puts us in a very precarious position.”

Officials with AAA of Idaho, however, said their organization is opposed to increasing the truck speed limit. They opposed a similar effort a year ago because they say faster trucks are dangerous and cause more road damage.

Corder said, between now and next year’s legislative session, he hopes to get data from all interested parties on the split-speed limit issue.

“Now that the subject has been aired, we will give AAA, trucking associations, (the Idaho Transportation Department) and others the opportunity to come up with some definitive data to support their conclusions.”

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor, and Reed Black, staff writer