Wyoming lawmakers advance faster speeds, lower speeding fines

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, February 12, 2015

Truckers and motorists traveling along certain Wyoming state highways could soon get authorization to drive a little faster.

The Wyoming Senate voted 26-4 on Tuesday, Feb. 10, to advance a bill to the House that would permit the state Department of Transportation to raise the speed from 65 mph to 70 on portions of state highways that are deemed to be able to handle the higher speed limit.

SF95 would require engineering and traffic studies to be done to determine the safe and reasonable speed on affected highways. According to a fiscal note attached to the bill, the cost to perform the required studies and data collection is estimated at $1.7 million.

The cost to update signage and pavement markings along 4,900 miles of two-lane highways in the state eligible for the change is estimated to be $959,000. The Legislative Service Office notes that some state highways or sections of state highways are not designed to meet safety standards at speeds higher than currently posted.

Del McOmie, chief engineer at the Wyoming Department of Transportation, told lawmakers during a recent hearing on the bill that the state would also need to consider different design plans to account for faster speeds when repairing highways.

A separate House-approved bill would lower speeding fines on portions of interstate posted at 80 mph.

State law now authorizes fines starting at $35 plus court costs for motorists caught exceeding the 80-mph speed limit. Truck drivers face $100 fines.

HB181 would set the maximum fine for motorists exceeding the posted speed by up to 5 mph at $25 plus court costs. Traveling at least 86 mph could result in a maximum fine of $35 plus court costs.

Truck drivers caught driving in excess of 85 mph would face $300 fines.

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