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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Life is Better at 80 MPH

By Scott Jenkins
Utah State Senator, District 20

I am sponsoring a traffic bill (SB17) that has two primary elements: increasing the speed limit and discouraging careless driving.

I want to raise the speed limit on Utah’s highways to the speed drivers are already traveling. Studies have shown people drive at a level that is comfortable and reasonable and prudent. In Utah, that seems to be about 70 mph along the Wasatch front and 80 mph along rural highways.

I think we also need to enhance the penalty for distracted drivers. I am being very careful not to restrict talking on cell phones or any other activity; this bill simply makes driving the first priority.

Matt did a story for the Trib, you can find it here . Julie's KCPW story is here.

Drive safe!


Anonymous Jeremy said...

God bless you Senator Jenkins!!!

1/17/2007 4:56 PM  
Blogger Tyler Farrer said...


How do you police carelessness? I mean, I was hit from behind by a woman that got distracted by a Highway patrolwoman.

The only way we knew she was distracted was she said so.

It sounds similar to the problem of enforcing a hate-crime. What is an individuals state of mind while driving?

Alcohol on the breath is measurable. This is not.

1/17/2007 5:14 PM  
Blogger Voice of Utah said...

We can give judges a pay raise with the revenue from all the rubberneckers. At every accident scene, we should have at least one cop car in place to issue tickets to the people being distracted by their own gawking.

1/17/2007 5:36 PM  
Anonymous Devin said...

I am so glad to see something like this. As I was sitting in traffic from the 4th accident in 5 days, I thought there should be substantial fines on top of any other tickets issued for people who cause crashes due to their own stupid negligence. As far as enforcement, one could alway check phone records to see if they were using them during the time of the crash. By the way, these are crashes, not "accidents". Accidents are caused by unavoidable circumstances. Crashes caused by negligence are avoidable.

1/18/2007 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Increasing the speed limit to 80! Ouch! People are people and they will continue to drive 5 to 7 miles an hour over the speed limit. Instead of going 80 mph, now they will be going 85 to 90 mph. As far as adding an additional fine to distracted drivers; if you think about it, just about all tickets are given to distracted drivers. Wouldn't it be easier to just raise the fine and not get into defining distracted driving. For the bill SB17, throw it out! It will cost lives and endless court sessions!

1/18/2007 11:20 AM  
Blogger Matthew Whiting said...

A second on Anonymous' objection. In addition, "reasonable speed" changes the moment your tire blows or anything else happens out of the ordinary. Raising the speed limit is also bad for gas use, higher speed, higher air resistence and more gas required for same distance. Raising speed limits is bad for our limited resources, whether you're getting 8 MPG in your Hummer or 50 in your Prius.

1/18/2007 3:20 PM  
Blogger Voice of Utah said...

(Just a quick note to RC--the official profile link on Sen. Jenkins' blog page redirects us to Dist. 25.)

1/18/2007 5:49 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

Thanks VOU. I'll get it fixed.

1/18/2007 9:27 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

BTW - I found comments on this bill at the Pontiac Solstice Forum.

My favorite: "Mormons might have the right god if this passes."

1/18/2007 9:30 PM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

And from Subdriven (Subaru enthusiast page): "Sir, if I were gay, I would marry you."

1/18/2007 9:38 PM  
Blogger Mike Jones said...

Increasing the speed limit is a fantastic idea. I would also favor laws that crack down on talking on the ol' cell phone while driving at 60+ mph.

1/19/2007 8:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to raise the speed limit on Utah’s highways to the speed drivers are already traveling.

Does that mean we legalize marijuana, polygamy, and a host of other malum prohibitum activities simply because other people are already doing them, too? I agree with the notion that by raising the speed limit to 80, people are going to feel safe (from a potential speeding ticket) by driving 85mph.

I'm not saying that I oppose the hike, I just think the logic in this statement is flawed.

1/19/2007 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Sam Walker said...

I agree with Matthew...if you raise the speed limit to 80 then people will drive 85-90. I drive the current speed limits now and find myself in the slow lane being passed by everyone. The same was true when the speed limit was 55 mph. "Comfortable" driving at 90 mph doesn't make that safe.
Raising the speed limit can't possibly reduce the number of accidents...and even in the best case where the number doesn't increase...most assuredly they will be more violent when they do happen.

1/22/2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a great idea. They have been driving these speeds in Europe for a long time. Our cars are made to handle these speeds just fine. If you don't feel comfortable driving fast then just stay on the right lane, nobody is forcing you to drive fast but let others do so.

1/29/2007 4:03 PM  
Anonymous saintbumper said...

The adult attention span is less than 15 minutes - after that time we're all distracted drivers.

Here's a product that protects your vehicle from rear-end collision damage caused by Tailgaters, Uninsured Motorists, Bumper To Bumper Traffic, Distracted Drivers, Inattentive Cell Phone Users, Drivers With Poor Judgment, Text Messengers And Lousy, Stinking Parallel Parkers.


2/11/2008 2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Senator Jenkins - An 80 mph speed limit merely puts the limits nearer to reality. Put me in as a supporter of raising the speed limits. I wish that one state would eliminate speed limits like Montana did in 1996-1999. Higher speed limits make for better driving conditins, as evidenced by the ever declining fatality rates since 1995. You deserve a medal of freedom for your undertaking. Don't pay attention to people who don't know what the hell they are talking about.

3/06/2008 8:53 PM  

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