Wisconsin next to adopt 70 mph rule?

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 8/22/2013

A Wisconsin lawmaker doesn’t want his state to be left behind in the move to 70 mph speed limits.

One day after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a bill into law to raise the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph on rural four-lane highways and the Illinois Tollway, Rep. Paul Tittl, R-Manitowoc, called for the same changes in Wisconsin.

Specifically, Tittl’s bill would boost the speed limit for all vehicles on freeways and expressways. However, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation would be able to set lower speeds near cities.

Tittl said that increasing the speed limit would be good for business and commuters.

He also pointed out that Wisconsin soon will be one of only two states west of the Appalachian Mountains with speeds for motorists below 70 mph; the other is Oregon. Eight states limit large trucks to speeds below 70 mph.

Opponents say that higher speeds result in higher numbers of crashes and fatalities.

Supporters say the state would be well served to adopt speeds that more closely reflect the 85th percentile rule. The method is used to set speed limits at or below the speed at which 85 percent of traffic is moving.

According to WisDOT, all four interstates have 85th percentile speeds that exceed 70 mph. The highest rate is 78 mph on portions of Interstate 43.

“When I talk to people about raising the limit, many of them say it’s about time,” Tittl said in prepared remarks. “They have driven safely in other states and like the option of driving a few miles per hour faster on our roads too.”

OOIDA leadership says it’s imperative for road safety that any changes made to driving speeds promote uniformity.

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

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