Utah Legislature OKs speed limit boost

| 3/14/2008

All vehicles soon could be allowed to drive a little faster along a stretch of Interstate 15 in central and southern Utah.

State law now allows vehicles traveling along I-15 from Nephi to Cedar City to drive 75 mph. The state’s Senate voted 19-9 to approve a bill that would give the Utah Department of Transportation authority to determine whether the speed limit safely can be increased to 80 mph or higher between mileposts 222 and 64.

The Senate voted cleared the way for the bill – HB406 – to move to Gov. Jon Huntsman’s desk. The House previously approved it on a 53-15 vote.

To determine whether the speed limit could be safely raised, UDOT would be responsible for conducting a study on the subject. An environmental study also would be required to determine the efforts of raising the speed limit.

Opponents say higher speed limits would result in increased deaths from traffic wrecks.

Supporters say vehicle speed doesn’t equate to deaths. Driver error causes wrecks, they say.

Drivers still would be required to merge right after overtaking and passing other vehicles. Passing would be prohibited if vehicles cannot maintain the minimum speed limit.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Utah, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor