New Utah laws cover speed, traffic, road safety

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 4/11/2013

Speeds allowed on certain roadways, traffic and road safety in Utah are among the new rules adopted by state lawmakers.

Gov. Gary Herbert signed into law a bill to limit use of a runaway ramp for emergencies only. Blocking access to ramps by “stopping, standing or parking” in the pathway will also be prohibited.

Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, acknowledged it’s a commonsense rule but he said the protection is needed to make sure the Utah Highway Patrol has the ability to encourage people to move along and not block the safety ramps.

Previously SB123, the new law takes effect May 14.

Also taking effect May 14 is another new law that covers left turns on red at certain new intersections.

HB272 authorizes signage to be posted to permit traffic to turn left on a red arrow at new “diverging diamond” freeway interchanges.

The new diverging diamond interchange design is intended to improve traffic flow and reduce idle time.

The authorization would be limited to situations when traffic is clear and signage authorizes such action.

One more bill signed into law authorizes 80 mph speeds on more stretches of roadways.

State law now authorizes 75 mph speeds on interstates and other limited access roadways in rural areas. However, since 2009 a stretch of Interstate 15 between Nephi and Cedar City has been posted at 80 mph.

The rule change expands the portion of I-15 where speeds can reach 80 mph. It also includes stretches of Interstates 80 and 84.

Specifically, truckers and other drivers could soon be authorized for faster travel from Brigham City to the Idaho border, on I-84 from Tremonton to the Idaho line and along I-80 from Grantsville to the Nevada border.

The Utah Department of Transportation can post the new speed limits on affected stretches as early as May 14. Engineering and safety studies must be completed before any changes are made.

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

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