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Brakes put on proposal to raise speed limit

Posted June 19, 2013

— The state House suddenly halted debate Wednesday on a proposal that would allow the state Department of Transportation to raise the speed limit on some highways to 75 mph.

Senate Bill 709 was pushed back to Thursday's floor session after about 10 minutes of debate Wednesday. No explanation for the move was provided.

Before debate ended, a bipartisan group of lawmakers expressed opposition to the idea.

"Life is fast enough," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

Glazier said he feared traffic fatalities would jump as younger, inexperienced drivers and older drivers with slower reflexes tried to negotiate the higher speeds. That, in turn, could lead to higher auto insurance rates for North Carolina drivers, he said.

Rep. Bert Jones, R-Rockingham, said no other Southeastern state is looking to raise speed limits above 70 mph, which is the existing maximum speed on North Carolina highways. Most of the states with higher limits are in the West, have "long, flat highways" and lower population densities, he said.

Rep. Jeff Collins, R-Nash, said he wanted to keep speed limits in check as a bargaining chip for future toll road discussions.

Rep. Frank Iler, R-Brunswick, said DOT studies have determined that 75 mph is a "safe and reasonable limit," and he predicted traffic engineers would find "very few areas" where a higher limit would be appropriate.

"We're trying to get politics out of transportation," said Rep. Dana Bumgardner, R-Gaston. He urged passage of the bill, saying DOT engineers have the expertise to determine what roads are safe for a 75 mph limit.

AAA Carolinas is against the proposal.

"Fatalities would increase because accidents would be more severe" at higher speeds, said Jodi Woolard with the organization.

Some Triangle drivers on Wednesday expressed mixed feelings about the bill. They said they would like to go faster, but they also worry about safety.

"I think that will be OK as long as people aren't then going 85 in the 75 zone," Christy Wells said.

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  • caryzoo Jun 20, 2013

    I agree with many people. The slower drivers in passing lanes cause a lot of harm. But, many people are not aware that federal guidelines allow for a speedometer to be off */- 10% on any vehicle leaving the factory. Most people speeding, do not know know they are speeding because of this issue. And for those of you out there who feel you NEED to drive the speed limit even with the 10% issue. Just do the country, state, etc. a favor. Please get off the road. You are not capable of defensive driving. Get a taxi, or bus, please.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jun 20, 2013

    Correction, the wrecks are caused by slow drivers driving in the left lane and blocking the flow of traffic.
    ConservativeVoter

    THIS!

    Slow drivers cause a lot more accidents by gumming up the works and lollygagging in the fast lane. Every time I go by a slow poke they look absolutely terrified to be behind the wheel. If driving scares you that much, take the bus

  • tired2 Jun 20, 2013

    watts.....if you don't like it, then drive in the right lane a stay at 65....just like the people who would do away with lotteries, liquor, beer etc...STOP trying to regulate OUR lives by what YOU don't want to do.

  • greg69innc Jun 20, 2013

    85 and feeling good on my commute this morning and I stii had cars passing 75 is not enough

  • ConservativeVoter Jun 20, 2013

    "Almost 1/3 of all traffic fatalities are caused by speeding - about 11,000 people a year. I'd like to see true enforcement of the speed limit. Limit means: "A point or level beyond which something does not or may not extend or pass." By definition, it's the extreme upper legal limit. Anything faster is illegal. "

    Correction, the wrecks are caused by slow drivers driving in the left lane and blocking the flow of traffic.

  • djhartm Jun 20, 2013

    @goldenosprey You alleged factual results of raising the speed limit are little more than heresy.

  • djhartm Jun 20, 2013

    "Life is fast enough," said Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland.

    Rick, please do us all a favor please and do not rerun for office.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jun 20, 2013

    so which is wral? this article says it's dead. today the news says it's alive and well.

    just give us the facts and leave your bias out of it.

  • bradcooperisinnocent Jun 20, 2013

    Bump it to 80 please. So tired of people driving so slowly. Especially when going downhill putting brakes on only to have then mash the gas to go right back uphill.

  • Crumps Br0ther Jun 20, 2013

    They dont seem to have all these problems in the areas of the autobahn with no speed limit in Germany that you opponents are spewing. I thought the progs wanted us to be more like Europe. This is a good step in the direction then maybe we will get that sweet train you all want too.

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