As state lawmakers consider a proposal to raise the speed limit on Wisconsin highways, one expert says the change is unlikely to have much of an impact on safety.

The proposed bill would raise the speed limit on Wisconsin’s interstate system from 65 miles per hour to 70. David Noyce, the director of the UW-Madison’s Traffic Operations and Safety Laboratory, says research in states that have made similar changes shows there is not a significant impact on safety.

Noyce says travel speeds on most highways are already close to 70 miles an hour. While he admits that pushing up the limit can encourage people to drive just a little bit faster, he says the increase over 70 is actually nominal compared to how much faster people drive in areas with a 65 mph limit in place.

AUDIO: David Noyce (:18)

With all of Wisconsin’s neighboring states now allowing drivers to travel 70 on many parts of their highway systems, Noyce says it’s important for state officials to at least consider the change. Still he says lawmakers should proceed with caution and carefully weigh the impact the increase could have on Wisconsin’s roads.

Lawmakers are expected to debate the bill this fall, although Governor Scott Walker has indicated it’s not a priority for him.

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