Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher has signed a bill into law that allows for higher speed limits on rural interstates and parkways in the state.
The new law, previously SB83, calls for the speed limit for all vehicles to be increased to 70 mph – up from the current 65 mph. Speed limits on the state’s urban interstates will not change.
“The time has come to increase the speed limit on Kentucky’s interstates and parkways,” Fletcher said in a written statement after the bill signing. “Data from other states and conditions for implementation in this legislation give me confidence that 70 miles per hour will not mean a loss of highway safety.”
Sponsored by Sen. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, the bill requires an engineering safety study be performed before any speed limit increase. After that, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet would review the parts of roadways where the maximum speed limit could be increased.
“We studied this plan carefully. There is no evidence in the data from other states that increasing the speed limit to 70 resulted in a corresponding increase in accidents on interstates,” Guthrie said in a written statement.
The Kentucky Department of Highways said safety research could take up to two months. New speed limit signs could be installed within a few weeks of the decision date.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor