Senate also makes deadly decision to approve the following speed limit increases: 55 to 65 mph on highways; 60 to 65 mph for trucks and 60 to 65 mph for school buses
What do I think about the Michigan Senate approving laws that will increase the speed limits for cars, trucks and school buses?
I think it’s a horrible idea … as I have for years.
As I told The Detroit News’s Jonathan Oosting for his excellent story today, “Michigan Senate Oks 75 mph speeds, local roads plan:”
“‘I’m really disappointed … The politicians did what they think will make them popular, but we know with absolute certainty that it’s going to cause more people to die in car accidents and more people to be seriously injured.’”
That’s 100% consistent with what I’ve been saying since Michigan lawmakers first started making noises about ignoring the safety risks and allowing drivers to go faster: Speed kills.
The research backs me up.
Mr. Oosting reported on the 1990 University of Michigan study I brought to his attention, which showed:
“[Fa]atal crashes increased nearly 20 percent when the state raised its rural highway speed limits from 55 mph to 65 mph in 1987.”
MDOT studies show more people will die at faster speed limits
Significantly, studies sponsored by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) show that speed limit increases – such as the ones the Senate approved in House Bills 4423 and 4425 – will cause more people to die. For instance:
- Raising the speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph on freeways is estimated to increase motor vehicle accident-related fatalities by 17%.
- Raising the speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph on non-freeways, i.e., highways, is estimated to increase in car accident traffic fatalities by 28%.
Faster trucks and school buses?
Of course, my safety concerns with the proposed speed limit increases in the Senate-approved versions of HB 4423 and 4425 don’t end with what I’ve discussed above.
Not only do I think letting school buses go faster (from 60 to 65 mph) is a bad idea standing alone. But when coupled with the lack of seat belts to protect students and the issues that occurring with inadequate training and supervision of bus drivers, I’m certain it’s a potentially – and quite likely – deadly idea.
Also, increasing truck speed limits from 60 to 65 mph is just a disaster waiting to happen.
Speed limit changes in the Senate-approved versions of House Bills 4423 and 4425
Below the changes that House Bill 4423 (passed in the Senate on December 7, 2016 by a 28 to 8 vote) and House Bill 4425 (passed in the Senate on December 7, 2016 by a 27 to 10 votes) would make to existing Michigan speed limit law:
- Increase the freeway maximum speed limit from 70 mph to 75 mph on “limited access freeway[s].” Exisiting law: MCL 257.628(8). HB 4423 (page 10). HB 4425 (page 6).
- Increase the highway maximum speed limit from 55 mph to 65 mph on “trunk line highway[s].” Existing law: MCL 257.628(1). HB 4423 (pages 10-11). HB 4425 (page 2).
- Increase the freeway maximum speed limit for trucks from 60 mph to 65 mph on “limited access freeway[s]” where “the posted speed limit is greater than 65 miles per hour …” Exisiting law: MCL 257.627(6). HB 4423 (page 4).
- Increase the freeway maximum speed limit for school buses from 60 mph to 65 mph on “limited access freeway[s]” where “the posted speed limit is greater than 65 miles per hour …” Exisiting law: MCL 257.627(6). HB 4423 (page 4).