Idaho bill would eliminate split speed limits

| 2/6/2007

An Idaho state lawmaker has renewed his effort to do away with the state's split speed limit.

Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, wants to tweak the speeds on interstate highways in the state to 70 mph for all vehicles. Existing state law allows cars to drive 75 mph while large trucks are limited to 65 mph.

Corder, a trucking company owner, pulled from consideration a bill a year ago that would have kept car speeds at 75 mph while moving truck speeds up to the same rate. He said he wanted to come up with more data to support his effort to eliminate the speed differential.

This year's version - S1075 - is awaiting consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.

Corder told Land Line 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 because of the number of "interactions" that result between cars and trucks.

"Differential speeds cause people to change lanes more often," Corder said. "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 interactions going on."

Corder said his proposal is supported by a recent study from the University of Arkansas that shows 68 mph speed limits result in the fewest number of wrecks.

"It convinced me that I needed to do this again so at least we could have this debate in Idaho," he said.

The bill is expected to get a committee hearing as early as Tuesday, Feb. 13.

- By Keith Goble, state legislative editor