Legislation approved by a Utah House committee would test speed limits of 80 MPH on I-15.
Texas may lose the distinction of being the state with the highest legal speed limit in the US. With the blessing of the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), state Rep. James A Dunnigan introduced legislation that would test the effects of higher speed limits on part of Interstate 15. The state House Business and Labor Committee unanimously approved Dunnigan’s bill on Wednesday.
“The engineering studies that we conduct would determine what the appropriate speed would be,” UDOT Government Affairs Director Linda Hull explained on Wednesday. “Looking at it from the outside we think it might be eighty miles per hour.”
The test would consider the 85th percentile speed — the actual speed at which the majority of traffic is moving in safety — along with ten other factors to determine whether to increase the I-15 limit from 75 MPH to 80 or more. UDOT would report back on the safety effects of the change to legislators who would determine whether limits could be raised elsewhere in the state.
A similar bill that would have raised the speed limit to 80 MPH last year was amended before becoming law. Instead of setting a top speed of 80, that law mandates that all speed limits be set according to engineering studies. The same law also requires slower vehicles in the far left-hand lane to yield when a faster vehicle approaches from behind. Texas officials approved an 80 MPH limit on I-10 and I-20 in 2006.
The full text of the legislation is available in an 80k PDF file.
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