North Carolina speeds on the way to 75?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A push continues at the North Carolina statehouse to 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 House Transportation Committee voted on Tuesday, June 18, 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 clears the path for the bill to move to the House floor for consideration as early as Wednesday. If approved there, SB709 would head to Gov. Pat McCrory. Senate lawmakers already approved it on a 45-1 vote.

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

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 would likely result in speeders driving even faster. They note that faster travel also decreases fuel efficiency.

The bill would not affect the state’s “excessive speeding” law. The rule makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor to drive either 15 mph in excess of the posted speed or faster than 80 mph. Violators face loss of driving privileges for 30 days.

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

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