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KDOT Engineer: Speed Kills

Jeff Garretson - February 15, 2016 1:24 pm

A new bill being discussed in Topeka would link Kansas with six other states around the nation that have a maximum speed limit of 80 miles per hour.

If HB 2450 becomes law – Kansas would join South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming and Utah in allowing drivers to travel at 80-mph on designated separated, multi-lane highways.

The Kansas Department of Transportation along with the Kansas Highway Patrol have both told legislators that raising the speed limit will likely raise fatalities on the roads.

Steven Buckley, a state highway safety engineer with KDOT says the interstates were designed for speeds of 65 to 70 miles per hour, “There’s obviously a factor of safety built into that,” he said.

“As we creep up the speed limit we are starting to get away from that factor of safety,” Buckley told listeners Monday on the KSAL Morning News.

Last week Buckley told legislators who had gathered for testimony on the issue, the numbers point to higher fatality rates where highway speeds have been increased.

Buckley says in the 807 miles of roadway where speed limits were raised from 70 to 75mph – fatalities also increased by 22-percent.

“Fatalities went up from 86 in the three and a half years before (the bump up to 75mph) to one hundred and five after,” Buckley noted.

He said on other roads state wide which were not raised, fatal crashes are actually down.



Doug Clemens

February 16, 2016 at 8:53 am

I like to drive fast like most other people but today driving fast coupled with cell phone use and texting makes it more dangerous than ever. Driving down the interstate doing 80mph you have people passing you while talking on their cell phone or you see them with their I-phones by the steering wheel while they are texting. Folks you cannot do this driving down the highway doing 80 or in town doing 40. Kansas needs to get strong on cell phone usage and texting before raising speed limits any more.

Larry Elmquist

February 17, 2016 at 11:58 am

Perhaps the 22% increase in fatalities, and more if HB2450, is just another way of taking pressure off the legislature’s school funding plan.

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