Speed limits on certain portions of rural interstate highways in Virginia will be raised to 70 miles per hour due to bills passed by both the House and Senate last February 2.
Senate voted 29-11 in favor of the bill while the House voted 71-26.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell was part of the leading initiators in the recent bill passage since this was one of his priorities to increase the speed limits as a component in his transportation proposals from his campaign last year.
The House and the Senate passed bills to raise the speed limit from 65 mph to 70 mph and left it to authorities to select safe locations for the implementation. Interstate highways and several ‘limited-access four-lane highways’ will be taken into consideration.
Lynchburg Republican Sen. Steve Newman explained that raising the speed limit will not translate into higher incidences of road accidents. 33 other US states adopt the 70 mph limit scheme while about 12 have 75 mph limits. Utah and Texas has potions of their highways that have limits of 80 miles per hour.
However, not all the legislators agree that the bill was a ‘good idea.’
Bath Democrat Sen. Creigh Deeds explained that there is a need to take the transportation issue seriously but the recent passage of the bill as a ‘first priority’ is lamentable. Deeds added that this year is affected by a $4.2 billion budget deficit and the speed limit bill ‘does nothing’ to alleviate current societal problems.
Democrat Martinsville Sen. Roscoe Reynolds said that faster driving actually leads to lesser fuel efficiency. He added that voting against the bill would have been the ‘right vote’ since it would have resulted in lesser fuel consumption to the dismay of ‘Big Gas’ and ‘Big Oil’ companies worldwide.
Chesterfield Republican Sen. John Watkins expressed that increasing the limit does not necessarily compel drivers to drive faster.
The limits on specific interstate highways are yet to be determined. Typically, maximum limits are implemented in less-populated or rural areas.
McDonnell, in a press release, said that the slight increase will be safe for car owners as well as allowing people to get from one place to another at a much quicker pace than what was previously permitted. He added that the change should be welcomed as a crucial step to further improve the transportation issue in the commonwealth.
Auto insurance holders in Virginia are urged to take steps to avoid getting charged with speeding tickets since it may result in increasing their insurance premiums. Rules may vary state to state and drivers should be wary of such variations.