North Carolina Senate backs 75 mph speeds

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A bill on the fast track in North Carolina would authorize 75 mph speeds on certain roadways.

State law now is set at 70 mph for all vehicles on interstates and other controlled-access highways. The North Carolina Department of Transportation is authorized to set “a reasonable and safe speed limit” based on engineering and traffic levels.

The Senate voted 45-1 to advance a bill that would permit the state DOT to increase the speed limit to 75 mph on affected roadways along stretches where it is deemed appropriate for the faster travel.

The action comes eight days after the Senate Transportation Committee approved it. Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake, introduced the bill one day earlier. SB709 now moves to the House.

There are 13 states that allow truckers and other drivers to travel at least 75 mph, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. If signed into law, North Carolina would become the second state east of the Mississippi River to authorize travelers to drive 75 mph. Maine was the first.

Supporters say the change would allow traffic to move along a little faster on portions of roadway that aren’t heavily traveled.

Critics say that increasing the speed limit by 5 mph would likely result in travelers driving in excess of 80 mph. They note that faster travel also decreases fuel efficiency.

SB709 awaits assignment to a House committee.

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

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