COLUMBUS Bill stalls in bid for faster speed limits for trucks

Heavier trucks could be moving faster if the bill passes.
COLUMBUS -- Legislation that would raise the speed limits for commercial trucks to 65 mph from 55 mph on certain highways is dead for this session, its sponsor said.
State Sen. Lynn R. Wachtmann, a Napoleon Republican, cited heavy opposition from the Ohio State Highway Patrol as the reason his bill hasn't moved from the Senate Highways and Transportation Committee since he introduced it last year.
"I'm going to try and get it next session," Wachtmann said.
What would change: Under the bill, trucks in excess of 8,000 pounds would be able to travel 65 mph on highways where the posted limit is 65 mph for cars. The speed limit now is 55 mph for those trucks.
Proponents of the measure said they think a uniform speed limit would be safer than having a double standard for cars and trucks.
Wachtmann's bill would have made the speed limit 65 mph for all vehicles where there is a 55 mph limit for some and a 65 mph speed limit for others.
The bill would not have affected those freeways and other multilane divided highways that now have a 55 mph speed limit for all vehicles, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.
Plans to fight: The patrol said it will campaign against the bill if it is reintroduced in the next two-year session, which begins in 2003.
"The bottom line is, speed kills," said Lt. Gary Lewis, a spokesman for the patrol. "To increase commercial truck speeds, they will continue to push the envelope."
The patrol also fears how long it will take commercial trucks to stop if they are allowed to go faster, Lewis said.
"It boils down to safety," Lewis said.
He said Ohio is the fifth-most traveled state in the nation.
"We see a lot more traffic through Ohio; we also see a lot of commercial truck traffic," Lewis said.
The Ohio Trucking Association, which represents about 890 trucking companies, was neutral on the proposal.

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