Ohio proposes higher speed limits on state freeways
Published: Friday, March 22, 2013
Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 00:03
Changes being considered by Ohio’s Senate Transportation Committee could increase speed limits on many state freeways to 70 mph.
Members of the committee proposed the change Monday March 11, and hope to see higher speed limits by this summer. The change only applies to interstate freeways that are outside urban areas. This would include interstates 70, 71 and 75.
The speed limit in the urban areas of Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati would remain at 65 mph and could even be reduced to 55 mph by the Department of Transportation to prevent automobile crashes.
The majority of surrounding states including Indiana, West Virginia and Michigan, have already increased their speed limits on rural freeways. Senators proposing the change said they believe improved safety features in automobiles and trucks permit higher speed limits. While the increased speed limit could be helpful in getting people places faster, the Ohio State Patrol has some reservations. Patrol spokesperson Lieutenant Anne Ralston said they have expressed their concerns regarding the legislation and will continue to follow it as it moves forward.
“Our concern is for safety,” Ralston said. “Our mission is not going to change, but we enforce the laws that are voted on through the legislative process.”
However, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation, many of the fatal crashes occur in congested areas in which the speed limit would not increase.
Patrick Foltyn from the Ohio Insurance Institute said they are still devoloping an official stance on the issue, but acknowledged they have traditionally been opposed to legislation of this form.
Even with the concerns of the State Patrol and the Ohio Insurance Company, Miami senior Isabelle Shanafelt said she believes the increased speed limit will bring joy to many Miami students.
“The drive home from school is usually long and boring and now students can drive faster without the fear of being pulled over,” Shanafelt said.
Miami sophomore Andrea Gevas is in favor of the new speed limits but is hesitant about her safety driving home.
“Driving home to Columbus, I want to feel safe, especially from the people driving around me at a faster speed,” Gevas said.
According to the Ohio Transportation Committee, the success of increased speed limits in surrounding states has solidified the stance lawmakers have taken on this issue. The Transportation Committee ensures that the safety of Ohio citizens will not be compromised with the passage of this legislation, designed to benefit them.
If the legislation faces no opposition, the new law will be passed in the upcoming weeks and put into effect by this July.