Higher speed limit bill advances in Louisiana

| 6/13/2006

The Louisiana Senate unanimously approved a bill June 8 that would allow for increases to speed limits on the state’s interstates and other highways. The measure now heads back to the House where it is expected to be opposed by its chief sponsor.

The measure – HB240 – would increase the speed limit for all vehicles to 75 mph, up from the current 70 mph. It also would allow the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development to raise the speed limit on some other four-lane roads from 65 mph to 70 mph. Some two-lane roads would have speed limits increased from 55 mph to 65 mph.

The speed boosts were added to a bill offered by Rep. Hunter Greene, R-Baton Rouge, which initially dealt solely with traffic laws for vehicles in funeral processions, The Associated Press reported. Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, called for adding the speed limit changes on the Senate floor to expedite traffic flow.

Greene said State Police and others are leery about allowing drivers to travel faster on major highways.

Greene said he will ask his colleagues in the House to send the bill to a compromise committee to look at the safety issues involved.

State Police officials told the Times-Picayune that they also have requested lawmakers to review another section of the bill that would allow drivers of passenger vehicles impeding the flow of traffic to drive on the shoulder of a highway or interstate until the other vehicles pass. The rule would apply only on highways with paved shoulders.