A Green Bay-based trucking company opposes an effort to boost the speed limit to 70 miles per hour on certain interstates and highways, citing safety concerns. Attorney for Schneider National Tom Vandenberg points to a national study that shows a significant hike in highway deaths and injuries when states increased the speed limit in the past.
“Generally, there was about a 28 percent increase in the number of fatalities when the speed limit was increased from 55 to 65, and when it was increased from 55 to 70, there was about a 35 percent increase in the number of fatalities.”
Schneider National — the nation’s largest trucking company — sent a letter to members of the Assembly before they voted to pass the legislation. Vandenberg is adamant that as speed limits rise, so does the death toll on the roads.
“We’re probably not gonna see as big a jump when you go from 65 to 70, but there’s no reason to believe that you won’t see a statistically significant increase both in the number of fatal accidents and the number of serious injuries that are incurred.”
AUDIO: Vandenberg says fuel economy and emissions are other concerns. :14
Vandenberg says vehicles aren’t as efficient when they’re going 70, and Schneider National uses devices that limit their cruising speed to around 65. Vandenberg says if lawmakers were to increase the limit, he doubts that trucking companies would make the adjustment.
The bill’s author, state Representative Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc) believes raising the speed limit “would make our roads safer,” because most people are already driving at that rate of speed. Supporters say the hike would make Wisconsin’s speed consistent with the speed in our neighboring states.
The Assembly approved the proposal earlier this week, but it remains to be seen whether the Senate will even take up the issue.
Mike Kemmeter, WHBY