Study change in Ohio speed limit closely

Ever find yourself zooming down the road here in Ohio and realize you’re quite a bit over the speed limit? Perhaps in realizing such, you thought to yourself that you did not feel unsafe driving at that speed. If that is the case, an idea in the Ohio Senate might interest you.

With passage of House Bill 23 (Enacting the Fiscal Year 2024-25 Transportation Budget), some in the state Senate would like to increase the speed limit from 55 to 60 mph on state routes and county roads. The plan also would allow the Ohio Department of Transportation to increase the speed limit on two-lane state routes to 65 mph, according to a report by WHIO.

Those of you who are cheering the idea may have received some of those speeding tickets supporters of the bill say they’d like to reduce.

But there’s another side to the issue. According to data compiled by AAA and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there are a couple of problems to consider. Drivers often exceed speed limits, anyway. When officials raise speed limits to match driver behavior, those drivers speed up even more. IIHS data suggests raising speed limits has cost 37,000 lives over the past 25 years.

“Higher speed limits cancel out the benefits of vehicle safety improvements like airbags and improved structural designs,” said David Harkey, IIHS president. “The faster a driver is going before a crash, the less likely it is that they’ll be able to get down to a survivable speed even if they have a chance to brake before impact.”

If reducing the number of speeding tickets handed out is the only reason lawmakers are proposing such a change, it seems it might not work out. If, on the other hand, infrastructure and vehicle improvement justify such a change, and those same lawmakers have consulted with safety experts before making the decision, it is likely most Ohioans will be glad to see it.



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