Will Nevada claim nation's highest speed limit?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Monday, April 08, 2013

An effort that is halfway through the Nevada statehouse would increase the speed limit to 85 mph on certain stretches of road.

The Senate voted 15-6 to advance a bill that would authorize up to 85 mph speeds for all vehicles on stretches of highway deemed appropriate by the Nevada Department of Transportation – up from 75 mph. SB191 now moves to the Assembly.

If signed into law, Nevada would join Texas as the only states that authorize drivers to travel at 85 mph.

Critics say that increasing the speed limit by 10 mph would likely result in travelers driving in excess of 90 mph.

Sen. Don Gustavson, R-Sparks, said that he believes the bump in the speed limit can be made without drivers abusing the new speed. The former truck driver cites research collected in Utah.

A new law in Utah authorizes 80 mph speeds on portions of Interstates 15, 80 and 84. State law already allows car and truck drivers to travel 80 mph on a portion of I-15.

Addressing concerns about higher speeds, Utah officials noted that 85 percent of drivers on the affected stretch of I-15 drive 83 mph – up from 82 mph before the change.

Gustavson’s staffer, Jerry Stacy, said the change would also aid truckers who have a limited number of hours in the day that they can be behind the wheel.

“We are a pretty big state with a lot of rural roads,” Stacy recently told Land Line. “The Nevada DOT would like the autonomy to raise speeds in some areas where it is deemed safe.”

The first stretches of Nevada highway that would likely be approved for faster travel are Interstate 80 from Fernley to the Utah line and Interstate 15 from Las Vegas toward Mesquite.

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

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