Bill to raise speed limit passes legislative committee

Posted at 11:49 AM, Feb 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-01 14:08:00-05

A bill that would increase the speed limit in certain areas passed out of committee Thursday.

It would increase the speed limit to 80 miles per hour on Utah interstates in some areas.

House Bill 83 is sponsored by Rep. Jim Dunnigan, who worked with the Utah Department of Transportation to test the higher speed limit.

According to the three-year study by UDOT, when the speed limit went up on four stretches of road between Nephi and Cedar City, accidents went down by 20 percent.

Dunnigan said drivers went about the same speed as they did when the limit was lower.

“Eighty-five percent of the drivers were already going almost the speed we are suggesting, so that’s the natural flow,” Rep. Dunnigan said.

The bill still has to go to the state Senate and House. If it passes, it would be implemented in mid-May.

Rep. Dunnigan said fatalities are more often caused by drivers not buckling up. There is another bill to make it mandatory to wear a seat belt in these zones.

The Utah Highway Patrol also supports the bill.