Safety advocates object to Florida raising highway speed limit

Alligator Alley.

Alligator Alley.

I-75 Alligator Alley at the toll plaza looking west.

Gary Coronado/File

I-75 Alligator Alley at the toll plaza looking west.

TALLAHASSEE _ Safety and consumer advocates want state lawmakers to put the brakes on a bipartisan measure that could allow 75 mph speed limits on some Florida highways and also boost speeds on other roads.

Representatives from the National Safety Council and the Consumer Federation of the Southeast contend the proposal (SB 392) by Sens. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, and Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, will make roads less safe as motorists further surpass speed limits that exceed their ability to safely operate vehicles.

“Raising the speed limit is essentially going to encourage people to drive faster,” said John Ulczycki, vice president of strategic initiatives with the National Safety Council. “They’re not just driving the speed limit, they will continue to drive 5 to 7 miles above the speed limit.”

Ulczycki projected that a 5 mph increase in the speed limit could result in an increase of 100 traffic fatalities a year on Florida roads.

The proposal by Brandes and Clemens 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.

The DOT would then be able to increase travel on the state’s “limited access highways” to 75 mph and raise the maximum posted limits on divided four-lane highways in sparsely populated rural areas from 65 mph to 70 mph. The DOT could also hike speeds by 5 mph, to 65 mph, on other roads they deem safe.

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

Earlier this month, Brandes and Clemens issued a joint statement with the National Motorists Association that said the legislative proposal is only to allow the DOT to determine if limits should be raised 5 miles per hour on certain roads.

“The data indicates that many drivers are already traveling at these speeds on highways and traffic research shows that traveling with the free flow of traffic is safer for the motoring public,” Brandes said in the statement.

Clemens added that data he’s seen disputes assertions that increasing speeds will increase traffic fatalities.

“I understand that speeding tickets provide an important source of revenue for public safety, but supposed safety experts made the same claims when we repealed the national speed limit,” Clemens said in the release. “The data proves that raising the speed limit has not resulted in more fatalities.”

Ulczycki, who said politics already won out over safety when highway limits were raised from 55 mph, said the push for even greater limits is from lawmakers nationwide for fewer laws and more convenience for people.

“I had one legislator tell me once that in his opinion, ‘safety is too much government,’ “ Ulczycki said.

The Waunakee, Wis.-based National Motorists Association, founded in 1982 to advocate against the a national maximum 55 mph speed limit, is a motorist group dedicated to the protection of motorists’ rights and freedoms.

In the statement with Brandes and Clemens, the group contended research shows there is a greater risk of traffic accidents from vehicles driving slower than the average free-flowing speed of traffic.

“Since 1995, speed limits have steadily increased on highways to 70, 75, or more. During that period of time the national highway fatality rate has fallen 36 percent. This is because free flowing traffic is safer,” John Bowman, the association’s communications director, said in the release. “Motorists generally drive at speeds they feel comfortable and safe at regardless of the posted speed limit. Adjusting speed limits to be more in line with actual driver behavior promotes safety.”

Ulczycki said fatalities have dropped in part because of better roads, heightened safety in the automotive industry and a reduction in miles traveled by motorists as the economy went into recession.

Walter Dartland, executive director of the Consumer Federation of the Southeast, added that it’s inevitable that higher speeds will result in more crashes, higher insurance rates and a reduction in fuel efficiency.

“The bill is simply a bad, bad idea,” Dartland said.

Raising speed limits above 70 mph, as 16 states have done for select roads since the national speed limit was lifted in 1995, has led to more deaths from speeding accidents as reaction times are reduced and the severity of injuries is made greater, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in Arlington, Va.

A 2009 study by the American Journal of Public Health found a 3 percent increase in road fatalities attributed to higher speeds after the 1995 repeal of the national speed limit, with the increase growing to 9 percent on rural interstates.

The proposal by Brandes and Clemens will be considered during the 2014 legislative session. Currently, there is no House sponsor for the proposal.

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Comments » 24

Konfuzius writes:

Great idea! Why not 80 mph? Means more concentrate driving instead of monotony. And less tickets!

captnjimbo writes:

So let's offset the gains in safety and fuel economy by encouraging more speed and less efficiency. A 75 mph law will encourage 90. Probably a bad idea.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to captnjimbo:

So let's offset the gains in safety and fuel economy by encouraging more speed and less efficiency. A 75 mph law will encourage 90. Probably a bad idea.

Can you explain me why America is behind Brazil the second worse nation by deathly car accidents and Germany by no speed limit one of the safest?
I bet you have no answer!

Konfuzius writes:

in response to Konfuzius:

Can you explain me why America is behind Brazil the second worse nation by deathly car accidents and Germany by no speed limit one of the safest?
I bet you have no answer!

Sorry! America is third worse. China is last, than Brazil and than America!

Konfuzius writes:

The United States has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of traffic accidents in the word. The U.S. is also the third most populated country and is among the most developed nations. The country’s wealth means that most people of driving age have at least one car.

The high volume of traffic translates into more people getting into accidents. In terms of accidents that cause fatalities and severe injuries, the U.S. is easily the world’s leader. More than 50,000 die each year from traffic-related accidents. The nation has more than 10 million accidents annually with many of them due to driving while intoxicated. Motor vehicle accidents in the United States rank as the sixth leading preventable cause of death.

RayPray writes:

in response to Konfuzius:

Can you explain me why America is behind Brazil the second worse nation by deathly car accidents and Germany by no speed limit one of the safest?
I bet you have no answer!

"Germany by no speed limit one of the safest...."

>>> No speed limit autobahn is the way to go. Even with extra accidents, if that happens, a positive tradeoff between citizen freedom & responsibility and having the boot of rapacious local governments on your neck far & wide.

MIOCENE1 writes:

If you raise the speed limit that high, then you had better establish a MINIMUM speed limit so no one goes less then 55.

Some people are just not in a hurry; and it can be deadly coming up on a 'slow poke' while doing 80.

marcoislander writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

CopWatch writes:

in response to marcoislander:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I make the following suggestion:

Let's paint three of posters in this thread (they shall remain anonymous) safety orange and use them for traffic control barrels on I-75.

1Paradiselost writes:

in response to Konfuzius:

Can you explain me why America is behind Brazil the second worse nation by deathly car accidents and Germany by no speed limit one of the safest?
I bet you have no answer!

I have an answer that's simple... Cars made in Germany are better and safer automobiles.

CopWatch writes:

in response to 1Paradiselost:

I have an answer that's simple... Cars made in Germany are better and safer automobiles.

1Paradiselost writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Konfuzius writes:

in response to CopWatch:

Wrong again SFB!

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-safes...

Everybody has his own truth!
I guess the truth of RayPray is the best!

26yearsonmarco writes:

I have been driving for over 50 years and have never been involved in an accident, or received a ticket.

Every time I travel on Rt. 75 I estimate at least 60% of other drivers are not paying attention to driving due to the many distractions, such as texting, etc.

Adding additional speed will only cause more accidents.

I also note that no one keeps the correct distance between themselves and the car in front of them, and if I do, I get cut off.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to marcoislander:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Speed limit up to 90 mph will be a good idea! Even most American cars are safe enough to handle it.

But as prognosticator you are proofed totally ineligibly:
"March 4, 2010
8:05 a.m.
Written on Letter to the Editor: Marco Island needs a high school:
This is just a bad dream NEVER to come true."

You remember your post marcoislander? And you see the reality to day?

Speed has to go up. It is a safety factor.

Konfuzius writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

I have been driving for over 50 years and have never been involved in an accident, or received a ticket.

Every time I travel on Rt. 75 I estimate at least 60% of other drivers are not paying attention to driving due to the many distractions, such as texting, etc.

Adding additional speed will only cause more accidents.

I also note that no one keeps the correct distance between themselves and the car in front of them, and if I do, I get cut off.

That means the majority of Americans have more understanding and needs for higher speed than this glacial pace the states government dictated now. Very interesting. I guess you are one of this skulker driving 60 mph on the left lane.

RayPray writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

I have been driving for over 50 years and have never been involved in an accident, or received a ticket.

Every time I travel on Rt. 75 I estimate at least 60% of other drivers are not paying attention to driving due to the many distractions, such as texting, etc.

Adding additional speed will only cause more accidents.

I also note that no one keeps the correct distance between themselves and the car in front of them, and if I do, I get cut off.

"Every time I travel on Rt. 75 I estimate at least 60% of other drivers are not paying attention to driving due to the many distractions, such as texting, etc."

Check out this documentary:

http://www.naplesnews.com/news/2013/o...

Dr Stein gives vasectomies up and down the interstate in motels.

Next evening, racing along 75, with lamp on his forehead, he is REAGING patient's chart while on the phone with them for update consult.

UNBELIEVABLE!

captnjimbo writes:

I have also no accidents with 50 plus years. I have had a ticket or two. 100 MPH on an open highway is no challenge for today's cars and experienced drivers. That said even 70 with less than 4 car lengths separation is insane...and we deal with it almost every day. Mix that with cataracts, dope, booze and cell phones...to say nothing or little about judgment...

Aviaconsul writes:

in response to RayPray:

"Germany by no speed limit one of the safest...."

>>> No speed limit autobahn is the way to go. Even with extra accidents, if that happens, a positive tradeoff between citizen freedom & responsibility and having the boot of rapacious local governments on your neck far & wide.

RayPray, when did you last come across the pond to Germany? Now there is a limit on the Autobahn and when there is no limit one is recommended on wet surface.
Usually German cars hold the road better than the ones built in Obamaland (60% of vehicles are SUV's and Trucks) Going up to 75m.p.h. means 15% increase in consumption.

RayPray writes:

in response to Aviaconsul:

RayPray, when did you last come across the pond to Germany? Now there is a limit on the Autobahn and when there is no limit one is recommended on wet surface.
Usually German cars hold the road better than the ones built in Obamaland (60% of vehicles are SUV's and Trucks) Going up to 75m.p.h. means 15% increase in consumption.

"RayPray, when did you last come across the pond to Germany?"

>>> Assumed Klaubeman-Kungfuzius knew what he was talking about....Hmmmmm....

Konfuzius writes:

in response to Aviaconsul:

RayPray, when did you last come across the pond to Germany? Now there is a limit on the Autobahn and when there is no limit one is recommended on wet surface.
Usually German cars hold the road better than the ones built in Obamaland (60% of vehicles are SUV's and Trucks) Going up to 75m.p.h. means 15% increase in consumption.

He is right and wrong! 15% of the Autobahn net/Interstate net is without speed limit. You can drive 200 mph + if you want and your car can do it. The rest of the net is on speed limit between 60 mph and 100 mph by signs. That is the truth. Of course - most of the long distance sections north/south/north are not restricted. So the east/west/east tangent. All big cities autobahn are under speed limit. But at night 3 am you can drive so fast your car can do it. But you can not past on the right side. You must watch your security distance to the car in front of you and a German driver license is not to get until you are 18 years old. And to get it is much tougher than in America.

26yearsonmarco writes:

If there is anything that needs to gain speed in Our Once Great Country, its the remaining time in office for this person:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/micha...

1Paradiselost writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

If there is anything that needs to gain speed in Our Once Great Country, its the remaining time in office for this person:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/micha...

What's your rush? As a Reagan Republican I don't see any candidates who are going to beat Hillary?

Konfuzius writes:

in response to 26yearsonmarco:

If there is anything that needs to gain speed in Our Once Great Country, its the remaining time in office for this person:

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/micha...

You posted an information about great President Barack Obama:

"President Obama Didn't Go To Church"

What has this with speed on the interstate to do? Bring up the speed limit to 100 mph. That will be a good and safety decision. And improve the driver licenses test. They are to easy. Americans NEED STRONGER EDUCATION TO DRIVE A CAR. Can not be that America is the worse nation in driving on earth. Happy New Year!
At least 956 driving death over the year ends days.

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