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Florida Bill Could Raise Speed Limit on Interstates, Highways

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If 70 miles per hour seems fast, then you better buckle up.

Florida’s speed limits could increase with a new bill that would allow the state to raise the speed limit on some interstates and highways by five miles per hour.

The bill, proposed by Sens. Jeff Brandes and Jeff Clemens, is leaving some law enforcement wary about the possible changes.

Art Forgey, the public information officer of the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, said the possible speed limit increase could add to the severity of crashes.

“Personally, and to us in law enforcement, traffic crashes out on the interstate are typically pretty big crashes based on the speed,” he said. “So you add five more miles an hour to it and obviously the severity of the crashes are probably going to be more.”

A study found when interstate speeds climbed to 70 miles per hour in 1996, there was a 3 percent increase in road fatalities.

Charles Dick, a frequent traveler, said he understands the danger that comes with driving faster.

“You might save lives if you hold it to 70,” he said. “But you might get home a little quicker if you go 75, so you know, I would hold it at 70. That would be my opinion.”

Despite the possible safety concerns, many motorists support raising the speed limit.

Steven Weinberger said he supports the increase as long as it’s safe.

“The faster I get somewhere the better, as long as it’s safe, and I don’t really think raising 5 miles an hour is going to change the safety of it,” he said. “I pretty much think everybody travels faster than that anyway.”

The idea of the bill is to change speed limits on interstates and some highways to reflect the way most people are already driving.

Forgey said he thinks people will continue to push the speed limit boundaries.

“I think no matter what you set it at, people are going to figure out the limit that they can push it at and that’s what they’re going to drive,” he said. “So if you set it at 75 and people think they can get away with going 80, they’re going to go 80.”

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