A bill to increase the interstate speed limit in Iowa to 75 miles an hour has cleared its first hurdle and will be considered in the House Transportation Committee tomorrow.
Representative Gary Worthan of Storm Lake is a truck driver who is spearheading the effort to raise the speed limit on Interstates and hike the limit on two-lane highways to 65.
“People are driving those speeds now,” Worthan says.
Representative Rick Olson of Des Moines says when he learned how to drive, the speed limit was 75 on the interstate.
“I’m told that cars are safer today,” Olson says. “I don’t have any problem with increasing the speed limit.”
Steve Gent, the director of traffic and safety at the Iowa Department of Transportation, says his agency isn’t for or against the proposal, but he’s raising safety concerns about hiking the interstate speed limit.
“Ten years ago the State of Iowa increased rural speed limits from 65 to 70,” Gent says. “…Fatal crashes increased 29.5 percent (and) total accidents in the four years after increased 25.2 percent.”
The average speed on Iowa interstates today is 72 — two miles over the posted speed limit. A bill to raise the interstate speed limit to 75 miles an hour was introduced in the Iowa Senate last year, but failed to clear committee.