Ohio Puts the Pedal to the Metal

Ohio is one of only 16 states that sets its interstate speed limits below 70 mph, but that is about to change. A new bill signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich earlier this month raises the speed limits on interstate freeways outside urban areas to 70 mph starting July 1. Speeds on outer belts in urban areas would see that drop to 65 mph, while interstates deemed congested by the Ohio Department of Transportation would see speeds limited to 55 mph.

This is not the first time Ohio has raised speed limits, in 1996 motorists saw speeds jump from 55 to 65 mph, while the Ohio Turnpike raised its speed to 70 mph in 2010. Increased speed limits have an important effect for truck drivers, while most fleets limit their speeds to 62 or 65 mph and drivers wouldn't see a change in the speeds they drive, they would see a difference in safety risks. Reports have shown that roads with a higher speed differential between passenger traffic and commercial traffic have higher rates of accidents. Motorists who are driven to maintain their higher speeds often perform increasingly risky maneuvers to get around the slower driving trucks. While this makes little difference on a sparsely driven road, the weaving in and out in heavier traffic increases the likelihood of a passenger vehicle colliding with a truck or another passenger vehicle.

The Ohio Trucking Association is against this increase, and has been fighting a higher limit for the past eight years, and they're not alone. Environmental groups also are opposed to the increase, arguing that higher speeds reduce fuel efficiency while insurance groups state higher speeds will increase danger on the roadways. Though not all parts of the bill are negative in the eyes of trucking. The bill also includes a provision to borrow $1.5 billion against future Ohio Turnpike revenues to receive a matching amount in federal and state funds, making available $3 billion for highway and bridge construction within 75 miles of the turnpike corridor.

Passage of bills such as this one stresses the importance of supporting our state and federal trucking associations, and communicating with your elected officials. While transportation issues might help passenger traffic make it to grandmas a little quicker or easier, they are the lifeblood of our industry. Communicate with your elected officials - local, state and federal - and get involved with trucking industry groups to ensure your voice is heard on the issues important to your business.

This entry was posted on May 21st, 2013 by jhubbard and is filed under Recent News & Updates.