I Can Drive 75...Maybe

TALLAHASSEE, Fla-- Efforts to raise the speed limit to 75 in Florida have been in the slow lane so far this legislative session, but lawmakers are about to put the petal to the metal.

Back in 1995, the speed limit was raised to 70 miles an hour . Since then, traffic fatalities have gone down every year but one. Now lawmakers want to kick the speed up a notch...to 75.

"This bill takes myth and politics and replaces it with fact and engineering," Sen. Jeff Clemens of Palm Beach said.

After being stalled for weeks, Sen. Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg says the legislation cleared a key hurdle Thursday.

"Speed limits are probably the most commonly violated law outside of prohibition," Branches said. "We really need to update our laws."

Out on Interstate 10, most traffic was already moving faster than the posted 70 miles an hour. We met Steve Cooper walking his dog in a rest area, on his way home to Missouri.

"Reporter: You drive 75 now is what your wife says you drive.
Steve: Mmhmm
Reporter: Would you go faster if the speed limit were 75?
Steve: No, I don't think so."

But most studies say otherwise. The bill staff analysis says that by raising the speed five miles an hour, the average speed will go up three miles an hour.

Triple A Motor clubs doesn’t like faster speeds. Karen McFarlane said most states with higher speed limits are seeing fatality rates above the national average.

"Distracted driving, cell phone usage, speed-related that we're gonna have more deaths and as you know speeding kills," McFarlane said.

Speed limits could only be raised after a safety study, but never through urban areas. They couldn't be higher than 70 on divided non- interstate roadway.

One roadblock to higher speeds could be the House Economic Affairs Committee. It has yet to put the bill on the agenda for its final meeting next week.


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