80 mph speed limit: Idaho and Wyoming poised to be nextThu, 27 Mar 2014 00:00:00 -0700
Idaho and Wyoming could soon see 80 mph speed limits introduced to a number of highways, joining Texas and Utah as the states with some of the fastest permitted passenger car-driving speeds, KMVT-TV in Idaho is reporting.
A bill in Idaho would see some sections of interstates go from 75 mph to 80 mph, and other selected highways go from 65 mph to 70 mph, which are probably speeds that drivers are doing anyway in remote and not-so-remote parts of both states. But the Idaho Transportation Department did not lend its support to the bill even though it is given the authority to implement it.
"There isn't really direction on where we want to go on this as far as the Transportation Department," Nathan Jerke, a spokesman for the agency told KMVT. "This wasn't a bill that was driven by ITD. This is something that came from the legislatures to push this forward and change the speed limits."
The fastest permitted stretches of roadway are currently located in Texas, where the posted speed limit on one 41-mile stretch of toll road is 85 mph. The toll road parallels a congested stretch of I-35 and has been hailed as a much-needed traffic-relieving roadway between San Antonio and Austin. Other parts of Texas have stretches of interstate where the speed limit is 80, as does Utah.
Until 1998, the state of Montana had a "reasonable and prudent" nonnumeric standard for speed limits, which permitted a person to drive "... at a rate of speed no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing at the point of operation ... so as not to unduly or unreasonably endanger the life, limb, property, or other rights of a person entitled to the use of the street or highway." A 1999 Montana Supreme Court decision ended this de facto derestricted utopia, three years after a Camaro driver received a ticket for driving 85 mph. In holding that a law requiring drivers to drive at a "reasonable and proper" violated the Montana Constitution by being too vague, the Court effectively handed the decision back to the legislature, which imposed a 75-mph limit on highways later that year.
By Jay Ramey