KDOT Engineer: Speed Kills

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.