The state Assembly has signed off on legislation that would allow for speed limits of up to 70 miles an hour on Wisconsin interstates. The bill gives the state Department of Transportation the authority to up the speed limit on roads, if it believes the change will not impact safety.
State Representative Paul Tittl (R-Manitowoc), the sponsor of the proposal, believes it will actually make roads safer by allowing traffic to move at the same pace. He has also argued that the change is needed to bring Wisconsin in line with its neighbors, which have already adopted a 70 mph speed limit.
During debate in the Assembly on Tuesday, some lawmakers raised concerns about the proposal. Republican State Rep. John Spiros (R-Marshfield) argued that allowing vehicles to travel faster means it will take longer for them to stop, which could increase the risk of crashes. The Marshfield Republican said that just a five mile an hour increase can add 14 yards to the stopping distance of a car, and 20 yards for a large truck. Spiros said he would like to see the bill include provisions that would allow the DOT to set a differential speed limit, under which cars could travel at 70, but trucks would have to move slower.
The legislation passed on a bi-partisan 76-22 vote. It now heads to the Senate.