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@NCCapitol

75 mph bill pulled over

Posted June 20, 2013

— Sorry hot rods. The state House has just said "not so fast" to a bill that would have made driving the state's highways that much speedier.  

The measure would have allowed the Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on some highways to 75 mph, but it is headed back to committee after debate on the House floor indicated it would most likely fail a vote in the chamber. 

Senate Bill 709 has already cleared the Senate, but House members have been more circumspect about the move.

Rep. Edgar Starnes, R-Caldwell, said that his mother rarely takes an interest in bills moving before the legislature. But the speed limit, bill he said, had gotten her attention. 

"She said, 'Have you folks completely lost your minds?'" Starnes related. Increasing speed limits, he said, would increase the number and severity of accidents and could lead to higher insurance rates.

"I agree with my mother. If we pass this, I think we have lost our minds," he said.

Backers of the bill said that it left the decision in the hands of traffic engineers at DOT. 

"We're not going to make the speed limit 75 mph on Jones Street," said Rep. Dana Bumgardner, R-Gaston, referencing the road that runs in front of the Legislative Building. 

The lengthy debate examined and rejected one amendment. Rep. Jonathan Jordan, R-Ashe, observed that, under current law, someone who gets a ticket for going 80 mph or above can lose his or her license and get four insurance points. Under a 75 mph speed limit, that's a stiff penalty for someone who is speeding by only 5 mph, so he proposed changing that threshold to 85 mph.

The amendment failed when other lawmakers realized that the 85 mph threshold would apply whether DOT raised a speed limit to 75 mph or not.

"That's just creating more license to speed," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

As debate on the bill wound on, proponents of the measure noted that cars had gotten safer and the DOT could build roads to better standards, but that didn't win over skeptics.

"There's one factor that we unfortunately cannot say has been upgraded over the years, and that's human beings," Rep. Marilyn Avila, R-Wake, said.

Rep. Bob Steinburg, R-Chowan, quipped, "At 75 mph, you're not driving a car, you're aiming it."

Rep. Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, the House Rules Committee chairman, observed that it sounded like the bill "needs a little more work" and sent it back to the Transportation Committee.

81 Comments

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  • soyousay Jun 27, 8:02 p.m.

    For those wanting to drive like it is still 1961...

    and then blaming Carter for slower speeds- he was President in 1976..

    that being said, the roads are falling apart, its unsafe to drive at slower speeds on parts of 85 and 95

  • Tray Cee Jun 21, 4:17 p.m.

    They are not saving lives by denying this I hope they realize that. They can look at states that already have speed limits on most highways (Michigan) and they do not have a higher number of accidents or deaths. They need to spend their time on actual issues that will help the State.

  • gunmonkey Jun 21, 3:54 p.m.

    "perhaps NC DOT highway standards are far behind German highway (Autobahn) standards. Germany has no speed limit and they seem to be doing fine."

    --If what you're saying is true, are you prepared to pay more taxes to bring our highways up to Autobahn standards plus pay for more gas to keep your vehicle running at high rates of speed? The faster you go, the more gas you use.

    Our roads are already in much better state than the Autobahn. I lived over there for 6 years and trust me, the roads are not great. Besides, cars today handle much better than cars did when the roads here were built. Our interstates were built for high speed. Nixon and Carter slowed us down

  • Force_One Jun 21, 12:50 p.m.

    These knuckleheads should not be wasting any taxpayer dollars to debate this nor should any of our money be wasted to change out all the signs, update literature etc etc

    There is no benefit to an extra 5 mph so keep it at 70 and move on to other more important issues.

  • caryzoo Jun 21, 11:27 a.m.

    I would like to make another point. Mr. Edgar Starnes apparently listens to his mother. It is a darn shame that he doesn't listen to the people of North Carolina. And, if this is the only issue this woman paid attention to, well, she may be a few cans shy of a six pack. Mr. Starnes needs to focus on the people, all of us, in this state. Leave his mother's ramblings out of politics. Think about it, the only person this grown man listens to is his elderly mother. Is this the best the state of North Carolina can do? REALLY?

  • caryzoo Jun 21, 11:21 a.m.

    Another thought. The helmet law. I am sure many of you know that we, the taxpayer, will wind up paying for their care when their insurance is cancelled/maxed out. Their care can run thousands of dollars a day. I do not want to pay for a politicians misguided and just plain dumb decision. Do you?

  • CaptainSpleen Jun 21, 10:33 a.m.

    Whenever you hear about kids losing control and getting in fatal wrecks, it's always from going 55 in a 35, or 90 in a 65. It's never from going 80 in a 70.

  • HockeyPlayerX Jun 21, 10:32 a.m.

    Speed limits are an outdated idea from the Carter days. It is time we abandon these notions and pass laws that are truly effective. There should be no maximum speed in the left lanes on interstates on open stretches...but there should be heavy fines for driving slowly in the left lane, as that is FAR more dangerous...and annoying. For those wanting to drive like it is still 1961...just stay in the right hand lanes, and don't worry about what everyone else is doing. Mind your freakin' business.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jun 21, 10:13 a.m.

    I see this debate as useless. It's like the helmet law, why have one? Why not allow the people the freedom to choose?

    Justic4All

    Because the only choice you have is whether or not you want to kill your "mistakes." The powers that be think that youre too dumb to make the right choice on anything else so you dont get too.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jun 21, 10:10 a.m.

    interesting how on the German Autobohn the death toll per accident is lower than in the US.....
    jpd9930

    THIS

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