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State senate approves increase in speed limits

FLORIDA  --  Legislation to allow you to drive 75 miles an hour on rural interstates was approved by a state senate committee today.
The legislation faces an uncertain future.
Long stretches of rural roads like I-10 across North Florida, I-75 and even the turnpike can see a five mile an hour bump in the speed limit.

"Limit access highways to be 75 miles per hour"
That Legislation is moving in Tallahassee.

Sen. Jeff Brandes          R-Pinellas County
"I'm certainly not suggesting that the department raise speed limits inside city limits in major urbanized areas but in very rural areas."         

The legislation doesn't actually raise the speed limit but it allows DOT to conduct studies and then hike the limit by as much as five miles an hour to match what drivers are already traveling.

Ananth Prasad           FL DOT Secretary
"That doesn't meant that every facility speed limit would get raised to 75 miles an hour."

The Committee approved the legislation, not uncommon when it is the chairman's bill, but it faces a tough road ahead.

Sen. Arthenia Joyner                   D-tampa
"This is not the German autobahn, we have leeway to drive five, six mile over the speed limit now, now you going to push it up into 80 if we increase it."
Adding fuel to the debate is a new national study to be released next week that will paint Florida as having some of the weakest traffic laws in the nation."
Triple A motor clubs oppose any change.

Karen MacFarland                   AAA Motor Clubs
"It takes longer to stop when you're going faster, people are following closer, people are distracted when they're driving and we are concerned about safety of motorist."

More than two thousand people died on Florida roadways last year.
Opponents also worry higher speeds would reduce fuel efficiency.