Florida Senators Introduce Bill to Increase Speed Limit to 75 MPH

fhp-accident.jpg
via Wikimedia Commons
Know what we need more around these parts? Crazy-ass drivers challenging Chuck Yeager's sound barrier speed record on our highways.

And thanks to some lawmakers, that just may happen sooner than we think.

Florida Sens. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, have joined forces in a bipartisan effort to allow a 75 mph speed limit on some Florida highways as well as an increase in mph on other roads.

These parties can't agree on guns, weed, medicare, taxes or Stand Your Ground. But when it comes to wanting to go faster, it's UNITED FOR ALL!

See also: With Ambulance Service Cut, Alligator Alley Rescues May Take Awhile

The bill that's been proposed by these asks the state Department of Transportation (or DOT) to set the safest minimum and maximum speed limits on all divided highways with at least four lanes.

From there, DOT can up the speed limit on some limited-access highways like, for example, that long-ass trek from Pensacola to Key West, to 75 mph.

The DOT folks could also then raise the speed limit to 65 mph on other roads.

Everybody gets to go faster! But only on certain limited roads!

"If people are driving within rates they're comfortable with, we need to adjust the minimum and maximums speeds to what 85 percent of people are already driving," Brandes said. "That's what this bill would allow."

Of course, raising the speed limit might lead to BLOOD... ON THE HIGHWAY! And that has some concerned.

"Higher speeds make crashes more likely because it takes longer to stop or slow down, and the crashes that happen are more likely to be deadly. It's physics 101," said Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute.

Studies have consistently shown that higher speed limits have led to more people crashing and dying.

And, let's face it, here in Florida, the speed limit is taken as more of a suggestion than a hard-and-fast rule by motorists. So 55 mph really means 70 mph, for most people.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, there were 71 traffic deaths in Broward County in 2012, which was an 11 percent increase from the prior year. Palm Beach County saw a 17 percent increase from 2011 to 2012.

Of course, these stats cover all Florida roads, and not just the limited-access roads the bill is shooting for.

Overall, accidents on public roads have decreased, but there are many other factors to consider.

FHP-stats.png
via Florida Department of Transportation
And if the increase is applied to Alligator Alley, things might get really interesting.

As for now, the bill is still awaiting a House sponsor. The proposal itself won't be considered until the 2014 legislative session.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.

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5 comments
DukeGanote
DukeGanote

@Julie Pitruzzello : Counterproductive and oversimplified. Rural interstates deserve a 75-mph limit: In 2011, rural interstates accounted for 5% of Florida's traffic deaths, at the rate of 1.14 per 100 million travel miles while conventional roads had rates up 7.95!

Observant drivers know why interstates are remarkably safer. Interstates vastly reduce the common causes of crashes, such as crossover conflicts at intersections; head-on collisions with adjacent, opposing traffic; and roadside hazards like trees, telephone poles, sharp curves, and sheer drop-offs.

Interstates offer a "triple win": improved travel times, safety and fuel-efficiency by minimizing the common causes of crashes and delays. That's why we build interstates!

HOAX SPOILER #1: "speed related" is a bogus political mishmash of:

1) Crashes that occur under adverse conditions: fog, rain, etc.

2) Citations that are given under the best conditions: typically sunny, dry, straight roads.

The safety grifters are trying to convince you that generating lots of revenue under the best conditions on the best roads will reduce crashes under the worst conditions on the worst roads. Don't fall for it!

HOAX SPOILER #2: Fuel efficiency is, as EPA stickers confirm, rather good on open highways. Since rural interstates account for about one-twentieth of Florida's highway travel, 70 or 75 is a trivial amount in the "big picture" of fuel consumption.

CONCLUSION: 75 mph offers improved travel times for long-distance travelers and tourists, plus law enforcement focused on the most dangerous roads and collision "hot spots" instead of just playing (speedo)meter-reader. Higher speed limit on the best roads?? Smart move!!

Data source: FHWA Highway Statistics 2011

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2011/fi10.cfm -- Fatalities by State and Road Class

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2011/fi30.cfm -- Fatality Rates by State and Road Class

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