Tampa, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/27/2014 -- A pair of state legislators wants to raise the maximum speed limit on some stretches of Florida interstate highways from 70 to 75 miles per hour.
Sens. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, will introduce a bill during the 2014 legislative session that would permit speed limits as high as 75 mph for those roads where state Department of Transportation (DOT) engineers deem it safe. Tampa auto accident attorney Robert Joyce warned that the proposal might compromise safety.
“Higher speeds generally lead to more accidents and, in fact, more deadly accidents,” said Mr. Joyce. “Measures like this are usually very popular with voters, but the state legislators should carefully consider whether to adopt this change.”
Mr. Brandes noted that the state has not reviewed Florida speed limits since 1995, when Congress abolished the nationwide 55 mph speed limit.
Nearly 1,500 miles of Florida highways currently enforce a speed limit of 70 mph. Most areas are in North and Central Florida on I-10, I-75, I-95, I-4, the Suncoast Parkway and Florida's Turnpike. Fourteen states already have a maximum speed limit of 75. Utah and Texas allow for 80 and 85 mph, respectively, in some areas.
Mr. Brandes and Mr. Clemens cited reports by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that show a significant decline in the yearly total number of fatal motor vehicle crashes, even as the numbers of drivers and miles driven have risen inexorably.
“It is notable that despite speed limits rising in some states, the nation has enjoyed a years-long decline in fatal auto accidents,” added Mr. Joyce. “I think the key here is that some roads can support higher limits, and some cannot. It is important that traffic engineers for the DOT make these decisions free from political pressure. As long as a rules-based and science-based approach is followed, hopefully we will see a continued decline in traffic deaths even if speed limits are raised.”
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