House Public Policy group discusses raising speed limit

Those who travel the interstate may be able to drive a little faster, legally.

The House Public Policy Committee discussed a bill last week that would raise speed limits by five miles per hour, from 55 to 60 on four-lane highways and from 65 to 70 mph on interstates.

Not much will change in the way people drive or how speeding drivers are caught, according to Lt. Arlan Johnson of the Delaware County Police Department,.

"People already think they can go 10 miles over the speed limit," Johnson said. "Now they'll go just five miles over."

Johnson said that the number of tickets given to drivers will decrease, but the number of crashes and accidents will remain uneffected.

"Drivers are comfortable driving at certain speeds all the time," said Johnson. "This will just make it a little more legal."

John Fitzgerald, professor of finance and insurance, said the opposite will happen.

"Research has shown speed kills," Fitzgerald said. "The Institution of Highway safety said the safest speed limit is 55 miles per hour because there are less accidents at that speed."

Fitzgerald said drivers will be concerned with the liability of being on a road with increased speed limits.

"Statistics show the more accidents, the more deaths and eventually higher insurance rates," he said.

The danger is also dependent on the type of road, according to Fitzgerald.

"People are used to driving fast on the interstate," Fitzgerald said. "The danger comes in when people drive fast on country roads."

Fitzgerald said increased speed limits can cause major hazards on roads with stop signs or when conditions are foggy and visibility is low.

Lt. Johnson said that the drivers decide the speed limit. "People go about 10 miles over the limit," he said, "If it's pretty common, they make it legal."

A representative of the Indiana State Police said they had no comment on the issue.


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