Idaho lawmakers pass speed trap bill

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 3/27/2012

Truckers traveling through Idaho soon might not have to worry any longer about many towns lowering speed limits to generate revenue.

Idaho law now authorizes local governments to set speed limits on state highways that run through city limits. The local power can result in posted speeds that are at least 10 mph lower than outside their boundaries.

The Senate voted 26-9 to advance a bill to Gov. Butch Otter that would strip the authority from towns. Instead, power to set speed limits on highways would be returned to the Idaho Transportation Department. House lawmakers already approved H619 on a 56-10 vote.

Supporters say the change would help eliminate needless speed traps near small towns. Communities around the state that have reputations for extended slow zones along highways include Bellevue, Donnelly and New Meadows.

Critics doubt the state can assess speed settings in communities as well as local government.

The bill would require Idaho Transportation Department to investigate and base posted speeds on “sound traffic engineering safety standards.” Localities could do their own study and request a different posted speed from the department.

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

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