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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: October 11, 2013 10:43 AM
From: Senator Joseph B. Scarnati, III
To: All Senate members
Subject: 70 MPH Maximum Speed Limit

In the near future I will be introducing legislation to increase the maximum speed limit on Pennsylvania interstate highways and the Pennsylvania Turnpike from 65 to 70 miles per hour.

In recent years states all across the country have increased their maximum speed limits. Currently, 34 states, including our neighbors in Ohio and West Virginia, have maximum speed limits of at least 70 MPH. In addition, sixteen states have speed limits on rural interstates of 75 MPH and above.

At the same time speed limits have been increasing, the number of fatal crashes nationwide has been declining from a peak of 39,252 in 2005 to 29,757 in 2011.

Pennsylvania’s maximum speed limit was set at 65 MPH in 1995 under Governor Tom Ridge. In the eighteen years since that time automobiles have not only become more fuel efficient but technological advances have also led to better built vehicles which are far easier to handle and drive at increased speeds.

In addition, many motorists have experience driving at greater speeds in other states with higher limits. Increasing Pennsylvania’s maximum speed limit on interstate highways and the turnpike will allow for better traffic flow and more efficient delivery of goods and services throughout the Commonwealth.

It is important to note that my legislation would not mandate a higher speed limit across the state but would set 70 MPH as the maximum allowable speed on interstate highways and the turnpike.

Speed limits would remain at current levels unless engineering and traffic studies conducted by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation or Turnpike Commission find that a higher speed limit is reasonable and safe before increasing it on any stretch of road. Because of that, the American Automobile Association (AAA) is supportive of my efforts.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.

Introduced as SB1170