Bill to increase highway speed limits on way to full Senate vote

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Floridians can soon be driving a little faster — legally — as the State Speed Zones bill passes its final committee, now on its way to a full Senate vote.

The Senate Committee on Appropriations committee approved SB 392 today, filed by State Sen. Jeff Brandes receiving bipartisan support. If passed, it would mandate a review of certain roadways by the Florida Department of Transportation, to determine if increasing speed limits would be appropriate.

“This bill calls for speed limits to be set by traffic experts rather than politicians,” said Brandes in a statement today. “The objective of sound road safety engineering is to set speed limits in line with actual driver behavior and this bill provides that flexibility to the Florida Department of Transportation.

“I look forward to strong, bipartisan support as we take this bill to the Senate floor.”

Florida law institutes varying speed limits on a variety of roadways statewide. Current limits of 70 miles per hour for interstates, 65 miles per hour for highways with a divided median, and 60 miles per hour could be increased by 5 MPH if determined safe by the FDOT.

“The facts are clear that increasing speed limits in a responsible way has not led to an increase in fatalities,” Senator Clemens said. “Letting professional engineers determine road safety standards instead of politicians is a much better way to ensure safe travel.”

Currently, the highest legal speed limits in the nation — up to 85 MPH on certain roads — are in Texas. Utah’s speed limits are 80 MPH.

The full wording of SB 392 is available at flsenate.gov

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.