Senate OKs Hiking Maximum NC Speed Limit To 75 MPH -

Senate OKs Hiking Maximum NC Speed Limit To 75 MPH

Posted: Updated: April 11, 2013 03:43 PM EDT
North Carolina -

An effort to raise the maximum possible speed limit on North Carolina roads to 75 mph has raced through the state Senate.

The chamber voted overwhelmingly Thursday to give the state Department of Transportation authority to set speed limits that high for some interstates and other limited-access highways. The bill now goes to the House.

16 other states have already shifted gears, allowing motorists to go at least 75 mph on some roads.

The bill received little debate -- only bill sponsor Sen. Neal Hunt of Raleigh spoke. And only Sen. Dan Blue of Raleigh voted no. He said later he wanted more information about how DOT would decide which roads qualify for higher speeds.

Under the current law, the state Department of Transportation can set a "reasonable and safe speed limit" on the basis of engineering and traffic levels.

"I think it is a great idea, says motorist Brandon Knoepfle, and even more than 5 mph would be even better."

"If they raise the speed limits, I think people would get to where they are going faster and pay more attention," adds Lacy McCammon.

Traffic safety advocates believe higher speed limits will result in more accidents.

"The average driver travels 5 to 9 mph over the speed limit, so you would see a person traveling from up to 80 to 84 mph which of course becomes more dangerous," said Wendy Gritzmacher with AAA Carolinas.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is contributing factor in one-third of deadly accidents. It's also estimated those crashes result in an economic cost of more than $40 billion each year.

DOT and the Highway Patrol haven't yet said whether they support or oppose the bill.

If it passes, North Carolina would have the fastest maximum speed limit on the East Coast.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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