If you think motorists now speed on Florida’s interstates, a recently approved Senate bill could well increase speeds.
Senate Bill 392, which the Florida Senate approved on Thursday, April 24, would up the maximum allowable speed on interstate highways by five miles per hour, from the current 70 to 75 mph. Meaning that motorists could conceivably push that speed to 80 mph with little fear of getting ticketed, as Florida law allows for warnings to those traveling less than 6 mph above the posted speed limit.
If it’s any comfort, the bill leaves the final determination to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), for all divided highways that have at least four lanes of traffic.
Proponents argue that the measure will even out traffic flows, reduce conflicts among vehicles and reduce accidents.
Opponents say the higher speed can potentially impact on tourists and seniors and increase safety hazards. They point to other states where higher speed limits have resulted in increased traffic fatalities because of drivers’ reduced reaction, along with more severe injuries.
The House’s companion bill, HB-761, has yet to hit the floor.
If approved, the bill would make Florida the second state east of the Mississippi River with a posted maximum speed of 75 mph. The other eastern state is Maine.
West of the Mississippi River, 16 states have posted maximum speeds of 75 mph or greater, with Texas having the highest speed limits in the nation at 85 mph.
The AAA opposed the proposal.