Speed limit roundup, March 2016

There’s a good amount of speed limit legislative activity this year. Here’s a summary of the major changes and failures to change.

I’ll go from east to west.

A New Jersey politician wants to raise the speed limit to 70 or 75. The police union responded maybe 70 on a few roads would be OK. The highest speed limit in New Jersey used to be 70 before the national speed limit in 1974.

A reluctant Pennsylvania DOT has agreed to post more 70 mph speed limits. The Turnpike will be 70 in all places currently posted 65. The speed limit had been 70 until the early 1960s.

A Michigan committee approved bills allowing 80 mph speed limits and otherwise reforming speed limit laws. The House has not acted on them and they may not have the votes to pass. The bill has four numbers, HB 4423, 4424, 4425, and 4426, but is treated as an indivisible package.

Iowa rejected speed limit increases, both on Interstates and other roads.

The Kansas House passed a bill (HB 2643) allowing 70 mph speed limits on two lane state highways, but rejected allowing 80 mph speed limits on Interstates. The Senate did not consider the bill.

A law reducing the speed limit to 55 on New Mexico county roads went into effect on January 1.

Wyoming rushed through a bill raising speed limits on two lane state highways to 70. It took effect last week. This law was passed after the DOT was slow to implement a law permitting increases to 70. Now the increase is mandatory unless the DOT justifies a lower speed with an engineering study.

Nevada DOT refused to implement the bill raising the state speed limit to 80. This action is probably illegal because the law requires 80 mph limits unless lower limits have been justified. The Reno Gazette-Journal published a letter from Chad Dornsife on DOT’s refusal to act

The law raising speed limits in eastern Oregon has taken effect. State highway speed limits are now mostly 65 or 70. (DOT map)

The Hawaii legislature may force the DOT to raise the speed limit to 60 on Saddle Road. The road was designed for 60 mph traffic but DOT policy is to post below the design speed.

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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