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A bipartisan push to raise Florida's maximum speed limit to 75 mph

Two state senators, Republican Jeff Brandes of St. Petersburg and Democrat Jeff Clemens of Lake Worth, say they will propose an increase in the state's maximum speed limit from 70 to 75 miles per hour.

From a press release issued Tuesday: "Sen. Brandes’ motivation behind the legislation is a desire to adjust speed limits to be more in line with actual driver behavior. If adopted, traffic engineers would be able to extend the maximum allowable speed on some roadways to 75 miles per hour if determined that the roadway was safe enough for such a speed."

"While I had some early reservations to adjusting speed limits, my study of the research from the 17 other states that have already increased their speed limits above 70 miles per hour led me to believe that it is time for Florida to review this policy,” Brandes said. “This legislation allows traffic engineers to make the decision to raise the speed limit on a roadway if they believe it is safe and advisable to do so.”

Added Clemens: "Allowing professionals to determine safe speeds based on the engineering standards of individual highways is simply common sense. A five mile per hour increase is unlikely to have an impact on road safety, but we’ll let the experts do their job.”

State law establishes varying speed limits on different types of roadways. The current limits are 70 mph on interstates, 65 for highways with a divided median and 60 miles per hour for other roadways that the Florida Department of Transportation oversee. The Brandes-Clemens bill proposes to increase these limits by 5 miles per hour. The highest speed limits in the nation are in Texas, which allows up to 85 miles per hour on certain roads, and Utah’s 80 mile per hour speed limit. Since 1996, the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in Florida has consistently declined.

-- Steve Bousquet