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Speed Limit of 75 Advances Against AAA Opposition as House Panel Endorses Measure

| March 5, 2014

No, not that kind. Not yet. (Nils Geylen)

No, not that kind. Not yet. (Nils Geylen)

A bill that could result in speed limits reaching 75 mph on some Florida roads was steered around opposition from the auto-club AAA on Tuesday as the measure made its first House appearance.

The House Transportation & Highway Safety Subcommittee voted 13-1 to support the measure (HB 761), which would direct the state Department of Transportation to determine the safe minimum and maximum speed limits on all divided highways that have least four lanes.

Senate Transportation Chairman Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, who along with Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, is sponsoring the Senate companion (SB 392), told the panel that the bill doesn’t raise the posted limits but gives engineers from the state agency more leeway in setting speeds.

“In certain areas of the state it will better reflect how drivers are actually using the roads, and therefore make it safer because you won’t have the variability between minimum speeds and maximum speeds,” Brandes said.

However, Lee Moffitt lobbying on behalf of AAA Auto Club South, said the proposal will result in more accidents if Florida joins Maine to become the only state east of the Mississippi River with speed limits higher than 70 mph.

“We urge you to consider the safety of Florida’s citizens and the millions of tourists that plow in to our state every year,” Moffitt said.

Moffitt pointed to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study that found nearly a third of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2012 were speed-related, and states with higher speed limits exceeded the national average.

“With our current speed limits, Florida’s roadways are safer than those states that have increased their speed limits,” Moffitt said. “You know congestion is a huge problem on Florida’s highways and many drivers in this congestion are driving too closely. … If you drive faster it increases the time you need to stop and makes the conditions for an accident even greater.”

Rep. Irv Slosberg, a Boca Raton Democrat who cast the lone vote against the bill, said with the limit posted at 75 mph, motorists will push speeds to 80 mph and higher.

“Is this bill going to make our roads safer? I don’t think so,” Slosberg said.

But Rep. Keith Perry, R-Gainesville, said vehicles are designed safer now than when the speed limit was increased to 70 mph.

“I’m trusting DOT would be an entity we can all hopefully have faith in to objectively make a good decision,” Perry said.

Florida’s highways have had a 70 mph maximum since 1996, the last time the speed limit was reviewed

The House bill has only one more scheduled stop — the Economic Affairs Committee — before reaching the House floor.

The Senate version, which has already been approved by Brandes’ committee, is scheduled to appear Wednesday at the Senate Community Affairs Committee.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

8 Responses for “Speed Limit of 75 Advances Against AAA Opposition as House Panel Endorses Measure”

  1. Seminole Pride says:

    There are many places in Florida where the speed limit should be No Limit, like on I 10 from Jacksonville to Tallahassee.

    • boomer says:

      you cannot handle yourselves in a mature way to even drive the posted speed limit safely or any other speed safely….this comes from a man who has driven millions of miles with 80,000 lbs safely strapped to my back….good luck

      • Johnny Taxpayer says:

        You don’t think any advances have been made in cars and tires since the last time the speed limit was raised in 1996? The entry level Kia econobox probably has more safety features today than a top of the line mercedes benz had in 1996.

  2. Duke Ganote says:

    Right on! Rural interstates accounted for just over 1% of Florida’s traffic deaths in 2012, at the low rate of 0.31 deaths per 100 million travel miles while conventional roads had rates up 33.45!

    Simple physics is why Interstates are safer: they vastly reduce the common causes of crashes, such as crossover conflicts at intersections; head-on collisions with adjacent, opposing traffic; and roadside hazards like trees, telephone poles, sharp curves, and sheer drop-offs.

    Interstates offer a “triple win”: improved travel times, safety and fuel-efficiency by minimizing the common causes of crashes and delays. That’s why we build interstates!

    SPOILER ALERT: “speed related” is a bogus political mishmash of:
    1) Crashes that occur under adverse conditions such as fog, rain, etc.
    2) Citations that handed out under the best conditions: typically sunny, dry, straight roads.
    The safety grifters are trying to convince you that generating lots of revenue under the best conditions on the best roads will reduce crashes under the worst conditions on the worst roads. Don’t fall for it!

    75 mph offers improved travel times for long-distance travelers and tourists, plus law enforcement focused on dangerous behaviors and location — instead of just playing (speedo)meter-reader. Higher speed limit on the best roads?? Smart move!!

  3. Rick says:

    “…..with the limit posted at 75 mph, motorists will push speeds to 80 mph and higher.”
    Who are they kidding? 80 & 82 mph are being pushed now & at times, faster.
    Hell, a speed limit of 75 mph will only create a semi-tolerated speed of 85 & 90 mph.

    “…..congestion is a huge problem on Florida’s highways and many drivers in this congestion are driving too closely…..”
    It is literally close to impossible to leave sufficient space, for the speed you’re going, between your vehicle & the one you’re following. If a driver slows down creating a safe distance other drivers, who always have to be in the front, will every time pass & pull in front of you thus once again shortening the space.
    About the only time a safe distance can be maintained is if traffic is light & sprinkled on the highway. Any signs of congestion & you can kiss the safe distance goodbye, even in the right hand lane.
    I have experimented with this type of driving more than once so the foregoing has been written from personal experience.

  4. Diana L says:

    I do not see any plausible reason to increase the speed limit.

  5. Pogo says:

    The nice lobbyists for Walmart, UPS, FedEx, et. al. say they – er we – will squeeze more profit – er get stuff quicker. Drink the GOP Kool-Aid. Feel better?

    Anyway, the crumbs pushing this don’t drive. They’re chauffeured or fly. Or slither.

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