We told you a couple of weeks ago about the new bill that was introduced in the Nevada Senate that would raise the speed limits on some interstates to as high as 85 miles per hour. Today, Senate Bill 191 went before a committee hearing in Carson City, and there were some interesting statements made by lawmakers.
Donald Gustavson, the Republican who sponsored the bill, claimed that studies show that more people die in auto accidents on roads with 45 mph speed limits than on interstates; which, according to him, proves that the adage "speed kills" is a myth. Gustavson apparently didn’t cite which specific studies he was referring to. But one can also assume that since there are many more 45 mph roads in the U.S. and Nevada than interstates, it might stand to reason that there would be more fatal crashes on them.
State department of transportation assistant director Tom Greco said that most fatalities occur on 2-lane roads, adding that interstates "are very safe."
Kelvin Atkinson, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Transportation Committee and is the father of a 16-year old girl, claimed that most auto accidents involving teen drivers occur on city streets, not interstates. Again, that may be true – but many new drivers don’t travel on interstates, and many parents of teens (perhaps Atkinson included) prohibit their kids from driving on them for a certain period of time. So if they were to get into wrecks, the crashes would probably occur on city streets.
AAA’s Mary Pierczynski said her group opposes SB 191 because the risk of injury and death increases with higher speeds – though no studies were cited to bolster that claim either.
And Cheryl Blomstrom of the Nevada Trucking Association says her organization is also against the bill, because it would result in a rise in fuel consumption, which would erode trucking companies’ already-thin profit margins. (Well, to heck with safety or convenience – if trucking firms will lose profits, then let’s kill the bill!)
What do you think about this issue?
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