By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor
In an effort to make Kansas more competitive with nearby states, a new law allows truckers and others traveling through the state to pick up the pace a bit.
Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law a bill giving the Kansas Department of Transportation the go-ahead to increase the speed limit by 5 mph on portions of highway.
Previously HB2192, the new law authorizes speeds for all vehicles to be increased from 70 mph to 75 mph on rural stretches of divided four-lane highways as early as July 1.
Rep. Marvin Kleeb, R-Overland Park, said he believes the higher limit is good for the state’s economy and for truckers. He pointed out that 13 western states, including neighboring Colorado, Nebraska and Oklahoma, already have a 75 mph limit.
“The higher limit could make Kansas more competitive as a primary route for truckers, as well as vacationers,” Kleeb previously told Land Line. “I can imagine if you’re making money as a trucker an extra 5 mph adds up.”
He also said it will make travel safer.
“We have a lot of people who want to drive 75. It is a natural speed limit in a lot of people’s minds and this would bring a lot of the slower drivers up to 75, which would create an overall safety enhancement,” he said.
KDOT is already working on identifying portions of highway that will accommodate the higher speed limit. Spokesman Steve Swartz told Land Line the department is taking into consideration traffic volumes, crash rates and hills and curves on the 1,060 miles of highways eligible.
The price tag to modify existing signage could be as much as $16,000 to $24,000. Swartz said that would cover the cost to rivet aluminum sheets with “75” printed on them for about 550 signs throughout the state.
Swartz said placing sheets on signs instead of replacing the entire sign will save the state money.
The Kansas Turnpike Authority can also decide to increase speeds on the turnpike.
A provision included in the bill allows travelers who are ticketed for driving within 10 mph above the speed limit to avoid having the violation reported to insurance. In addition, it would not count as a moving violation against their license.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Kansas, click here.
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