Rep. Jacobsen’s speed limits legislation heads to governor

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The Michigan House of Representatives today approved state Rep. Brad Jacobsen’s school safety, gravel road and speed limit bill-package through a concurrence vote from the Senate.

Rep. Brad Jacobsen, R-Oxford, sponsored House Bills 4423 and 4424, which raise speed limits from 70 to 75 mph on 600 miles of interstate and from 55 to 65 mph on 900 miles of ‘US’ or ‘M’ numbered highways.

“These bills, if signed into law, only allow the speed limit increases on highways where the state Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police conduct traffic safety and engineering studies to determine at least 85 percent of motorists are currently driving at those proposed, increased speeds,” Rep. Jacobsen said.

Included in the speed limits package is legislation to set speed limit rules for rural gravel roads and to require local communities to keep speed limits consistent with safety.

“Advances in modern technology have made it possible to utilize resources that can help transform outdated laws that are ineffective and inefficient to provide optimum driving conditions for our Michigan motorist,” Rep. Jacobsen said. “These bills address a number of technical  changes to keep our roads some of the safest in the nation.”

The legislation is a response to advancements in vehicle crash safety, the amount of rural roads in Michigan, changes in transportation administration, and the need to revise school zone speed limit laws and point assignments.

The 85th percentile refers to ‘rational speed limits’. Rational speed limits promote public safety by helping drivers choose a reasonable and prudent speed that is appropriate for normal traffic, weather and roadway conditions

“They encourage more drivers to travel at about the same speed, which has been shown to reduce the likelihood of crashes,” Rep. Jacobsen said. “Traffic engineers and safety officials determine rational speed limits based on a formal review of traffic flow, roadway design, local development and crash information.

“Rational speed limits make more sense to the vast majority of drivers because they are neither unrealistically low nor high, thus they are largely self-enforcing. This legislation will increase driver safety and ensure Michigan’s roadways are appropriately equipped to protect motorists utilizing technological advancements and scientific data provided by engineered studies analyzing our current driving habits,” Rep. Jacobsen said.

The legislation involved many years in the making and now heads to the governor’s desk with bicameral, bipartisan support.

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