Ohio Wants to Raise Speed Limit on Interstate

Speed Limit on HighwayOhio 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.

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1 Comment on "Ohio Wants to Raise Speed Limit on Interstate"

  1. Rep. Maag is correct: the interstate speed limit should be raised to at least 70 mph, and the State Patrol refocused on high-accident sites– which aren’t typically anywhere near an interstate. Ohio’s rural interstate fatality rate is FAR LOWER than other rural roads. Rural interstates had a rate of 0.67 deaths per 100 million travel miles, while other rural roads had rate of 1.78 to 4.63 in 2009. Rural interstates accounted for less than 5% of Ohio’s traffic deaths that same year — even though they carried almost 9% of Ohio’s traffic.

    Looking back into history, Ohio’s traffic deaths in recent years have been significantly fewer than we ever saw with a 55-mph limit… or even with the 35-mph national limit imposed during World War II.

    Reasonable speed limits have good compliance by the traveling public: for example, South Dakota raised its rural interstate speed limit to 75mph, and hasn’t seen its average speed break the speed limit in 15 years.

    So why the incredible enforcement on long-distance travelers on our fastest, safest, and most fuel-efficient roads? Turning the traffic stream into a revenue stream?

    As another perspective, there are more suicides in Ohio than traffic deaths. Your average Ohioan is two times more likely to commit suicide by poisoning than die on an interstate.

    BTW, good luck finding the facts about interstate safety on a Highway Patrol website. Here’s their site, so look for yourself…
    http://ohiohighwaysafetyoffice.ohio.gov/otso_annual_crash_facts.stm

    Or you can ask the Federal Highway Administration, which publishes a few more facts than Ohio trusts you with:
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2009/fi30.cfm
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2009/fi10.cfm

    The statistics I mentioned on suicide in Ohio were found here:
    http://www.ohiospf.org/content.php?pageurl=ohio_statistics
    http://www.sprc.org/stateinformation/PDF/statedatasheets/oh_datasheet.pdf

    South Dakota speeds are here: http://www.sddot.com/pe/data/Docs/speed2011.pdf

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