Gov. Rick Scott said last month that the death of a state highway trooper who was killed investigating an interstate accident convinced him a speed limit increase was wrong for Florida. Today, Scott made good on his promise to veto Senate Bill 392, which would have authorized state officials to raise the limit 5 mph to a maximum 75 mph if deemed safe.
"Although the bill does not mandate higher speed limits, allowing for the possibility of faster driving on Florida's roads and highways could ultimately and unacceptably increase the risk of serious accidents for Florida citizens and visitors," Scott wrote in his veto letter.
Scott added that he rejected the bill after hearing from law enforcement officers who believe higher travel speeds increased the severity of accidents and led to more deaths and injuries.
The death of Florida Highway Patrol trooper Chelsea Renee Richard, whose funeral Scott attended, politicized the speed limit issue, bill sponsor Sen. Jeff Brandes said today. Richard was killed while investigating an accident on Interstate 75 in Ocala; two others also died when struck by a passing pickup truck.
"It became a political issue even though Officer Richard’s death was not directly related to speeding, and I think the report would ultimately vet that out," Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said.
Nevertheless, he believes Scott has made his position clear and Brandes does not plan on proposing another speed limit hike next year, although he may focus just on increasing minimum speeds on interstates.
"Based on his veto letter I don’t think he could sign it in the future," Brandes said.