Ohio lawmakers want to raise the speed limit on interstate highways from 65 miles an hour to 70 mph. In 2009 they tried to attempt the same speed limit raise, but couldn’t get it to pass.
Rep. Ron Maag, R-Salem Township, believes that raising the speed limit on interstate highways will help keep things consistent through their state. He told The Enquirer, “To be consistent, the other interstates should be 70, and neighboring states – Kentucky, Indiana, West Virginia – have 70. It’s just important to be consistent.”
In April, the Ohio Turnpike Commission voted on the increased speed limit for all vehicles on the 241-mile turnpike which crosses through northern Ohio as I-80, with a vote 4-1. The Ohio Department of Transportation and Ohio Trucking Association opposed the speed limit increase saying it will “diminish traffic safety.”
Ohio State Highway Patrol compared crash data from April through November in 2011 to 2010. The number of crashes increased by 38.6% and injuries by 26%. But fatalities decreased. The number of fatalities stands at four in 2011 even though December data isn’t completed, the lowest number in turnpike history.
Ron Maag believes the interstate system is designed to handle traffic at higher speeds plus, technology has improved for safety in vehicles. “Cars are better, tires are better and brakes are better.”
Russ Rader from the Virginia-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said, “There is always a trade-off, increasing the speed limit gets people to their destination faster, but it’s not free. There’s always a cost. More people will be killed in accidents because of the change.”
Also the cost will be greater with increasing the speed limit on the interstate highways. It cost $320,000 to replace the speed limit signs, an estimated cost by Legislative Service Commission. It will also increase the cost for a driver too. A car’s miles-per-gallon rating is based on it going 55 miles per hour. At 60 mph, its engine is 3% less efficient; at 65, it’s 8% less efficient and at 70, it’s 17% less efficient.