Kentucky speed limits under review

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, March 01, 2012

A bill at the Kentucky statehouse is intended to protect truckers and other drivers traveling along Interstate 69 from unknowingly exceeding the speed limit. Another effort would boost the speed on a southwestern Kentucky highway.

The House Transportation Committee voted Tuesday, Feb. 28, to advance a bill to add the entire length of Interstate 69 to the list of roads posted at 70 mph.

Kentucky law limits cars and trucks to 65 mph on highways throughout the state. The secretary of transportation is authorized to increase the posted speed to 70 mph on all of Interstate 24, portions of Interstates 64, 65, 71 and 75, as well as eight parkways around the state.

During the fall, the highway along the Western Kentucky Parkway between I-24 and the Pennyrile Parkway was designated I-69.

Sponsored by House Transportation Chairman Hubert Collins, D-Wittensville, the bill clarifies in statute that 70 mph travel is permitted along I-69.

Collins said it is important to adopt the rule for the nearly 40-mile stretch of roadway.

“We need to make it consistent with the interstate on either end of it,” Collins told Land Line.

Also addressed by the bill is Collins’ concern about the stretch of roadway marked at 65 mph could be viewed as a revenue generator for law enforcement.

“We think it could be a speed trap. If there’s not a lot of signs posted, you would still be running 70 or more and suddenly you could be pulled over and not even realize you were over the speed limit.”

The bill – HB439 – now moves to the House floor.

Collins said he is hesitant to endorse other speed bills in his committee.

Two bills would raise the speed limit on U.S.68/Kentucky 80 from 55 mph to 60 mph. HB333 would affect the stretch of roadway from the William H. Natcher Parkway to Christian County. HB376 would be applied from the parkway to the Marshall County and Trigg County line.

Supporters say the change would make the area, which doesn’t have an interstate, more competitive for business.

However, Collins said he is concerned about how such a change in speed could affect slower-moving vehicles that use the roadway.

“We’ve had some problems with markings on Amish buggies on those roads. We hesitate about raising the speed limit.”

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

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