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Proposal Would Raise Ohio Speed Limit

An Ohio lawmaker has introduced a bill that would raise the speed limit for all vehicles on the state’s interstate highways from 65 to 70 mph, following a similar move by the Ohio Turnpike.

Ron Maag introduced H.B. 395, which would change state law to increase the speed limit on interstate freeways from 65 to 70 mph for all vehicles and limit the use of the left-hand lane of interstate freeways.

As a report in the Cincinnati Enquirer points out, a similar attempt in 2009 failed. But the fact that the Ohio Turnpike recently voted to raise its speed limit to 70 mph could give the bill a better chance this year.

The reasoning behind the Turnpike move was to move traffic onto the Turnpike, which is designed for higher speeds, and off the rural, parallel routes.

Following the 2004 speed limit increase to 65 mph for all vehicles on the Ohio Turnpike, the long-term data shows that the accident rate involving commercial vehicles dropped by 6.4%, and more importantly, the fatality rate decreased by 15.3%, according to a release from turnpike officials.

Maag has said that other state interstates should be the same limit to be consistent, and that the speed limit in neighboring states is already 70.

The Ohio Turnpike Commission voted 4-1 in April to increase the speed limit for all vehicles on the 241-mile turnpike, which crosses northern Ohio mostly as I-80. The state DOT and the Ohio Trucking Association opposed that increase.

In addition to raising the speed limit, the bill would prohibit driving in the left-hand lane of an interstate highway in the state except when exiting the freeway, overtaking and passing a slower vehicle, or allowing other vehicles to enter the right-hand lane of the right-hand roadway, or “when traffic or road conditions exist that would make operation of the vehicle in the right-hand lane unsafe.”

Maag is the primary sponsor, but the bill has seven cosponsors.

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