A New York lawmaker has introduced a proposed law that would permit the State Thruway Authority and New York Department to increase portions of the expressways to 70 miles per hour. The proposed law would also allow the NYDOT and the State Thruway Authority to raise speed limits in sections of expressways that they see fit. The bill has been introduced by New York State Senator Thomas F. O’Mara, who serves a district that encompasses several counties along the Pennsylvania border.
The bill’s justification section generally states that most states in the United States already have speed limits exceeding 65 MPH, and New York still needs to adopt similar efficient speed limits. This bill corrects this inefficacy by permitting certain agencies the ability to increase speed limits from 65 MPH to 70 MPH where suitable.
So far, 42 U.S. states have adopted speed limits of 70 or faster. But New York’s maximum speed limit could be saving lives. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has already concluded that increasing speed limits cause more crashes and more fatalities. Research also indicates that many drivers drive above the posted speed limit. In other words, raising the speed limit to 70 means drivers could drive at speeds of 75 MPH or faster if the speed limit is raised to 70.
Driver advocates believe raising speed limits on limited-access highways would be safe. The Automobile Club of Southern California discovered that increasing the statewide speed limits did not result in more traffic accidents.
It is essential to understand that if this bill was passed and then signed into law by the New York Governor, the bill only authorizes NYDOT and the State Thruway Authority to raise the posted speed limit to 70 MPH, and where those agencies agree to a change is warranted. The Thruway Authority stated that it had no comment at this time.
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