Florida bill would raise speed limit to 75 mph

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 11/13/2013

Two Florida state lawmakers are preparing a push for faster speeds on roadways around the state. OOIDA leadership says it’s imperative for road safety that any changes made to driving speeds promote uniformity.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, filed a bill on Tuesday, Nov. 12, that could increase the posted speed limit on highways for all vehicles to as much as 75 mph.

Florida law authorizes cars and trucks to travel 70 mph on interstates. Drivers can travel 65 mph on highways with a divided median and 60 mph on other roadways.

The bill offered for consideration in the 2014 regular session would increase allowable speeds on the types of highway by 5 mph to 75, 70 and 65 mph, respectively.

If approved, the Sunshine State would join 16 other states to authorize speeds of at least 75 mph. Only two of those states (Idaho and Montana) allow cars to travel one speed – 75 mph – while keeping trucks at a slower speed – 65 mph.

Brandes says the change would bring the speed limit more into line with how fast traffic already travels in the state.

The Florida Department of Transportation would have the final say on any speed changes. The bill – SB392 – would require the agency to decide where it would be “safe and advisable” to increase the speed limit.

“This legislation allows traffic engineers to make the decision to raise the speed limit on a roadway if they believe it is safe and advisable to do so,” Brandes said in a statement.

Critics say faster speeds would result in people driving even faster than they already do. Others say that while it is politically popular to increase speed limits there is a safety trade-off.

Clemens stated that a 5 mph increase is unlikely to hinder road safety, “but we’ll let the experts do their job.”

The bill awaits assignment to a Senate committee.

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

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