Interstate highways near Homestead and across Florida are the site of many trucking accidents each year. A new bill working its way through Legislature would attempt to improve the statistics by increasing the speed limit on interstate highways to 75 mph.
The question is whether the speed limit would mean more truck and automobile accidents in Homestead and Florida – or fewer. Opponents of the move say that increasing the speed limit will encourage drivers to go faster, leading to more traffic accidents in Homestead and other cities as well as more fatalities.
Supporters of the bill say that the bill would actually lead to fewer traffic crashes. They argue that many drivers are already going 75 mph and the new speed limit would simply reflect this and would encourage more drivers to drive at similar speeds, discouraging collisions. They point to studies that have shown that speed alone does not lead to more crashes – rather, it is a disparity of speed between motorists that is most likely to lead to accidents.
Bill SB 392 is sponsored by Senator Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Jeff Clemens of D-Lake Worth. Already, the proposed law had passed through committees and has not yet faced considerable opposition. If passed, the bill would permit the Department of Transportation or increase speed limits on rural, four-lane divided highways to 70 mph from the current 65 mph and would allow the agency to increase limits on limited access highways and interstate highways from a current 70 mph to 75 mph. The speed limit on other roads could be increased to 65 mph if the new bill passes.
Jeff Clemens has noted that in the middle of the 1990s the national speed limit was quashed, allowing for speeds higher than the 55 mph that were current at the time. Since then, Clemens notes that fatalities for traffic accidents have only increased one year and overall fatalities resulting from traffic fatalities have steadily declined.
However, some safety experts disagree that a speed limit increase would help with reducing traffic accident fatalities in Homestead and other Florida cities. According to a representative from the National Safety Council, increasing speed limits will increase the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and fatalities. One concern for safety experts is that many people on interstate highways already speed above the current 70 mph speed limit. According to some anecdotal information, many drivers who speed on these roadways drive between 75 and 80 mph, and increasing the speed limit may encourage them to go even faster. In Florida, the first five miles per hour above the speed limit results only in warnings or fines. Therefore, drivers might be encouraged to drive 80 mph with the new speed limits without worrying about getting a fine.
What do you think – will the new speed limits improve safety or threaten it on our roads?
If you have been injured by a speeding driver or any negligent motorist, feel free to contact Flaxman Law Group to arrange a free case consultation to review your rights to fair compensation.