Proposed bill would increase maximum speed limits on freeways, highways

Bill proposes 75 mph zones on interstates

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Life in the fast lane could get even faster.

The Arkansas House of Representatives easily approved a bill that would allow people to drive as fast as 75 miles per hour. While legislators love the idea, drivers who spoke to THV11 Thursday evening had mixed feelings.

“I haven’t had any issues, you know, in 75 miles per hour zones,” Edward Tolen said. “None at all.”

Tolen, a Chicago resident, drives around the country for work. He has spent plenty of time in states that have 75 mile per hour zones, which include Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, and Texas. He sees no problem with Arkansas putting the pedal to the metal.

“As long as you’re a responsible driver,” he added. “You know, 75, even up to 80, if you’re driving responsible, it’s not a big change, a big difference in the way you drive.”

If House Bill 2057 becomes law, the maximum speed limit in the state will change from 70 to 75 miles per hour, while rural highways will go from 60 to 65. Several people mentioned individual responsibility in their views of the idea.

“People are out there doing faster than 75 right now,” John Tedesco stated.

“The people that are smart enough to drive 65 can drive 75, and if they ain’t, they can’t,” said Mike Garrett. “It just depends if they’ve got enough sense to pay attention that far ahead.”

Garrett, who drive his semi between Dallas and Memphis, has no interest in going that fast. He mentioned that, on the freeway, going one mile per hour faster costs him an extra $100 a month. “The fuel costs too much and your fuel mileage goes down, then there’s just not enough money in it,” he explained. “I mean, it’s about the bottom line. The faster (I) go, the more fuel (I) use. And it comes out of my pocket.”

Garrett also said he feels safer at high speeds, because drivers make riskier decisions take more risks at low speed. Others acknowledged that high speed can bring high risk, as well.

“Well, it’s kind of like a yes-and-no,” said Elizabeth Estrada, a Texas resident, on whether she likes 75 mile per hour zones. “Because it makes traffic flow a little bit smoother, but also, people always speed and aren’t paying attention, so it’ll cause more damage if something does happen in a faster speed zone.”

The House of Representatives voted 93 in favor, zero against. The bill now will go before the Senate Committee on Transportation, Technology, and Legislative Affairs.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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