Florida governor vetoes faster speed limits bill

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 6/3/2014

Highway users won’t be given the thumbs-up anytime soon to drive faster on interstates and other limited-access highways.

Gov. Rick Scott vetoed a bill on Monday, June 2, that could have resulted in the posted speed limit on highways for all vehicles to be set to as much as 75 mph.

“Although the bill does not mandate higher speed limits, allowing for the possibility of faster driving on Florida’s roads and highways could ultimately and unacceptably increase the risk of serious accidents,” Scott wrote in his veto message.

Since 1996, Florida law has authorized cars and trucks to travel 70 mph on interstates. Travelers can drive 65 mph on highways with a divided median and 60 mph on other roadways.

SB392 called for authorizing the Florida Department of Transportation to decide whether it would be “safe and advisable” to increase the speed limit on the highways by 5 mph to 75, 70 and 65 mph, respectively.

House lawmakers approved the bill on a 58-56 vote on the next-to-last day of the regular session. The Senate previously approved it on a 27-11 vote.

Scott said he issued the veto after hearing from law enforcement officers who voiced concern about faster travel speeds increasing the severity of injuries resulting from wrecks.

However, advocates said the change would bring speed limits more into line with how fast traffic already travels in the state.

A total of 16 states 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.
Maine is the only state east of the Mississippi River with posted speeds in excess of 70 mph.

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