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Speed limit hike runs out of gas

Posted June 27, 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.

— A proposal to raise the state's maximum speed limit to 75 mph has run out of gas.

House lawmakers Thursday voted down Senate Bill 709, a measure that would have allowed state transportation officials to raise the top speed limit to 75 mph on highways they deem safe at that speed. 

After the bill appeared likely to fail last week, House leaders rewrote it to turn it into a study. The latest version would have directed the Department of Transportation to study whether the increase would be safe and come back to lawmakers in January with a proposal for a pilot project on four roadways in the state.

But critics said even the study was moving too fast. 

Rep. Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg, said the DOT should be given a full year – and adequate funding – for a comprehensive study.

"We want to look at the safety of people in this state," Carney said. "We haven’t taken into consideration the driver limitations on our aging highways. We haven’t taken into consideration our highway workers and emergency personnel."

Supporters of the bill said the oversight committee that would receive the study could look at all those issues.  

“At least do a study,” urged Rep. Dana Bumgardner, R-Gaston. “I don’t have any trouble driving a vehicle at that speed, or aiming it or whatever. I would like to see this passed in the interest of commerce and saving time.”

But other lawmakers said the study would be a waste of resources.

"I just think it’s a waste of money and a waste of effort," said Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus. "We don’t need to be committing resources to this study when we’re having a hard enough time figuring out how we’re going to pay for the roads and bridges to start with."

"Everything we do here is supposed to improve something," said Rep. Josh Dobson, R-McDowell. "For the life of me, I can‘t think of one good thing that would come from raising the speed limit to 75, even studying it." 

The measure failed by a bipartisan vote of 64 to 44.

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  • ganotedp Jun 29, 7:42 p.m.

    RE: "Over 40,000 people die each year on our highways and a lot of it is speed related." That demonstrates amazing ignorance! In 2011, 32,367 people died on US roads. Second, of those 6% died on rural interstates. Third, "speed related" is propaganda-shorthand for "speed excessive for conditions" -- where conditions are typically fog, rain, ice, snow, and the like -- and often UNDER the speed limit. Fourth, interstates have the lowest rate of so-called "speed related" crashes. Hardly a surprise to observant drivers, who intuitively know that getting rid of intersections, sharp curves, opposing-traffic-in-the-next-lane, and roadside obstacles makes rural interstates very safe for fast driving. Federal Highway Statistics, Tables FI-10 and FI-20, for anyone interested in facts, not fear.

  • Black HelicoptersNFood Insurance Jun 28, 6:58 p.m.

    Job jobs jobs....this would have brought jobs, right?

  • silkesmom Jun 28, 4:07 p.m.

    Glad someone came to their senses. Just because there are scofflaws, doesn't mean you have to accomodate them.

    Germany may not have speed limits on many of their autobahns, but when there are accidents, they are doozies because the subsequent drivers cannot avoid secondary collisions - many many car pileups are common.

    What burns me are the self important speeders who pass on the right side, often using the entrance ramps as their personal speedway.

    I really don't care what happens to the speeders/scofflaws, I just don't want to be part of their accident mess. And I'd rather not have my insurance rates increase due to more accidents.

    Not to mention, driving faster is more costly to your vehicle's operation as well as in gas consumption. The mathematics of arriving 2 minutes sooner just doesn't support the risk.

    Drive sensibly folks. Leave yourself plenty of time to arrive and you won't feel the need to speed.

    Cheers.

  • Reformed Liberal Jun 28, 2:28 p.m.

    Good! Life is going by fast enough.

  • airbornemonty Jun 28, 1:46 p.m.

    Why waste money on something when we know that almost everyone drives several miles over the posted speed limit anyway.

    When I'm on I-40, automobiles, semi-trucks included, pass me as if I am standing still and I do adhere to the posted speed limits.

  • samdutes Jun 28, 1:40 p.m.

    It is not so bad in other northern states but here in NC driver drive in which ever lane they choose and they pass on both sides. You'd think they didn't have a rear view mirror at times because people go under the speed limit in the fast lane. --dib

    This is just totally wrong, i've driven all up and down the eastern seaboard and folks are no better up north than they are here as far as left laning and any other offence you may see here, there are bad drivers everywhere.

  • TITAN4X4 Jun 28, 1:34 p.m.

    Too bad. I thought people wanted us to be more like Europe. The Germans have no problems on the parts of the autobahn without a speed limit.

    Crumps Br0ther

    I mostly agree. Having driven in Germany when there is an accident, they just bring in the crane and a flat bed truck. There is usually no need for medical response.
    I attribute most of the accidents on our hwys to inattention, distraction, left laners, and not to leave out those that will cross every possible lane to get to an exit they are about to miss!

  • ncpilot2 Jun 28, 1:05 p.m.

    I'm glad they are not raising the speed limit. Over 40,000 people die each year on our highways and a lot of it is speed related.

    Also, for those arguing about the "left laners," the left lane is not permission to speed. To fly up on someone's bumper in the left lane, when they are driving the speed limit, is arrogant and dangerous. Here's an idea for you: Why don't you leave at a reasonable time to get to your destination and not expect everybody to get out of YOUR way. Why not enjoy the journey instead of looking at the Interstate as a NASCAR track.

  • Geez Louise Jun 28, 12:46 p.m.

    "Glad to hear they've decided not to waste any money."

    --No, they're still wasting money on speed limit signs.

  • tierneemalinadeveaux Jun 28, 12:27 p.m.

    Why stop at 75? Just go ahead and take down all the speed limit signs. People ignore them anyway. Have you ever driven on 540?

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