State Senator pushing to raise Florida's maximum speed limit to 75 MPH

AAA opposes raising speed limit

TAMPA, Fla. - The top speed limit in Florida now stands at  70 miles per hour, though it's lower on many roads including Interstate 4 in Tampa.
But now, a State Senate transportation committee wants to give the Department of Transportation the option to raise the limit to 75. The driver behind the bill is State Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg.

"Florida won't be an outlier. Texas has speed limits of 85 miles per hour in some of their jurisdictions. This just offers the flexibility for our state to recognize how drivers are actually using the roads," said Brandes.

Indeed the law would only allow the DOT to raise the limit by 5 miles per hour after conducting engineering and safety studies. Yet, none other than the American Automobile Association is against the idea for a simple reason.

"In states with higher speed limits, we see a higher number of speed related fatalities" said Karen Morgan of AAA South in Tampa.     

Triple A acknowledges that overall driving deaths in Florida have declined since the last increase in the speed limit in 1996, but they attribute that to safer cars and more seatbelt use.

Morgan also points to the very human tendency to go just a few miles per hour faster than the posted limit.
"You inch the speed limit up to 75 and people are going think it's O.K. to go just four or five miles over. Now everybody's doing 80 miles per hour on the roadway."

If Senate bill 392 speeds through all the legislative hurdles and is signed by the governor, the higher limits would go into effect July 1st.

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