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Higher speed limit may be Scott's first veto target

Gov. Rick Scott says he has not decided whether to sign or veto the bill that increases the speed limit on Florida interstates to 75 miles per hour. But signs are growing that Scott could make the bill (SB 392) a target of his veto pen.

Scott attended a funeral service last week for Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Renee Richard, who was struck and killed on I-75 in Ocala on May 3 while she investigated a traffic accident.

The young trooper, who died one week before her 31st birthday, left a four-year-old son. The heavily-traveled stretch of I-75 is one of the areas where drivers could go 75 under the bill awaiting Scott's decision.

At the funeral, The Ocala Star-Banner reported, Trooper Tod Cloud told Scott that it "wasn't a bright idea" for lawmakers to support higher speeds on interstates, and that people often "do not drive with common sense" on I-75. Contrary to supporting higher speeds, Cloud said the state should reduce the speed limit to 55 on I-75 when the road surface is wet from rain.

On Monday, to mark the start of National Police Week, the Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and other police organizations announced they are designating June as "Move Over, Slow Down, Save a Life" month in Florida. Two other people, a tow truck driver and his friend, were also killed in the same crash that claimed the trooper's life.

FOP President James Preston said his group is considering making a recommendation to Scott on the speed limit bill. "We haven't yet. We're discussing it," Preston said. "We know it's on his desk." (Scott does not have possession of the bill yet, and he will have 15 days to act when he gets it). 

AAA Auto Club South is seeking a meeting with Scott or his staff to make the case for a veto, and public reaction from constituents is running heavily against the measure. It passed the Senate 27-11 and the House 58-56 and was the closest House floor vote of the 2014 session.

Comments

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Stephen

Gov Scott should sign the Bill.

The trooper accident mention above was a potential DUI. http://www.wtxl.com/news/fhp-trooper-tow-truck-driver-and-pedestrian-killed-in-i/article_39d241c2-d319-11e3-bacc-0017a43b2370.html

“Troopers are now looking into whether the driver of the pick-up truck was impaired at the time of the crash.”

Lord have mercy on her soul. But how does a speed limit stop a drunk.

As for the 5 mph increase.

This is safe.

In FL our Death Rate Dropped by almost 50% since we last increased speed limits. 2.2 in 1994 to 1.25 in 2011.

The fact is that overall 75 mph is safe. The states (with just one exception, ND) that have 75 mph limits have had death rate decrease over the last decade.


Here are the FARS data:

AZ 1996 55/65 mph death rate 2.36 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.38
ID 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.99 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.05 (Now 80 mph)
KS 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.89 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.29
ME 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.32 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: .95
MT 1996 55/65 mph death rate 2.12 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.79
NE 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.80 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: .95
NV 1996 55/65 mph death rate 2.18 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.02
ND 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.26 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.62
OK 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.96 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.47
SD 1996 55/65 mph death rate 2.24 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.23
TX 1996 55/65 mph death rate 2.02 2011 with 75 mph AND 80 MPH speed limit death rate: 1.27.
UT 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.64 2011 with 80 mph speed limit death rate: .92
WY 1996 55/65 mph death rate 1.94 2011 with 75 mph speed limit death rate: 1.46 (Now 80 mph)

Duke Ganote

Rural interstates accounted for about 1% of Florida’s traffic deaths in 2012 -- despite carrying 5% of travel-mileage. Either Trooper Cloud is abysmally ignorant of those facts OR -- if he knows them -- he's pandering some shameless propaganda.

Every life counts, but -- IF the goal is overall safety -- drivers and law enforcement should be focused on risky locations (local roads) and behaviors (drunk driving) instead of minor offenses on superhighways. 75 for Safety!

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