Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Votes Higher Speed Limit Trucks Could Go 70 Mph, Even in City

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senate Votes Higher Speed Limit Trucks Could Go 70 Mph, Even in City

Article excerpt

Motorists could zip through St. Louis at 70 mph under a bill the Senate passed on Wednesday.

Throwing out lower speed limits for the state's urban areas, the Senate voted to treat all interstate highways and four-lane divided freeways and expressways alike. All would post top speeds of 70 mph - for cars and big trucks.

On two-lane roads, the new limit would be 60 mph for all vehicles. The Missouri Department of Highways and Transportation could lower - or raise - the limits for particular stretches of interstates and highways, if requested by a city or county. But a legislative committee could override such decisions if it wished.

Because the federal government has lifted its speed limit cap, Missouri must set new limits by April 3 or revert to the state's pre-1974 limits. The old limits allowed cars to travel 70 mph on some two-lane roads.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol criticized the Senate plan.

"I think we're asking for severe problems," said Col. Fred Mills, the patrol superintendent. "There's absolutely a direct correlation between increased speed and increased accidents and the severity of those accidents. I just think we're going the wrong way."

Mills prefers a bill approved by the House that sets lower limits: 70 mph on rural interstates, 65 mph on four-lane divided roads and 55 mph on two-lane roads and urban highways. A House-Senate conference committee will work out the differences between the House and Senate versions.

The Senate approved its plan on a vote of 25-6 after rejecting attempts to lower the urban limits and to make big trucks go 5 mph slower than cars.

Under the Senate bill, speeders could be fined but would get no points against their licenses for going up to 5 mph faster than the speed limit. That prompted critics to say that the Legislature is really setting the top speed at 75 mph.

"It's absolute idiocy," said Sen. John Schneider, D-Florissant. "We're going to have people driving 75 mph on interstates 170, 270 and 70, ripping right through the city of St. Louis. Frankly, we're going to kill some people and maim some people."

Another feature of the bill is designed to stop cities from using speed traps to make money from motorists who are passing through. …

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