Legislation has been yet again introduced in the Michigan House to raise the speed limit on certain rural highways in Michigan. Under these bills, the speed limit could reach up to 80 miles per hour on certain freeways in out-state Michigan. The five-bill package proposed for possible consideration during this year’s lame-duck session is similar to legislation considered in the Senate earlier this year and the third of its kind.
If passed, this legislation would allow the Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police to set higher speed limits on certain rural highways based on scientific studies of typical traffic flow. Under the proposed law, these limits would be established using the “85th percentile rule,” meaning set limits would reflect the average speed at which 85 percent of drivers are already traveling while avoiding accidents.
The language of the bills allow “rural highways” to be loosely defined. In general, any stretch of freeway that does not pass through major cities could be included if the traffic patterns there support the change. For example, a stretch of US-127 between Jackson and Lansing is among those being considered for increased speed limits. Also on this bill are provisions that would exclude speeding violations of less than five miles per hour from your official driving record and update in school zones signage requirements.
Why Increase Speed Limits in Michigan?
Lawmakers supporting the bill maintain that current speed limits are silly if they criminalize the average driver traveling safely. In fact, the data supports this claim, as uniform speeds tend to lead to safer roads and fewer crashes. According to the Michigan National Motorists Association, raising the speed limit would likely reduce many bad driving behaviors, including tailgating, excess passing, and passing on the right. In addition, the increased speed limit would reduce the number of unfair speed traps.
Not everyone is pleased with the proposed change, however. Critics have pointed out that higher speeds tend to be associated with more deadly crashes. In addition, the higher speeds could lead to greater wear and tear on Michigan roadways. Still, the overall reception to the bill has been positive and Bradford Jacobsen, a Republican from Oxford and the sponsor of this bill, believes that it is likely to pass, if not in the lame-duck session — then at least in January.
Hopefully, this change will lead to fewer driving infractions unfairly put against Michigan drivers in the future. In the meantime, however, anyone accused of a traffic violation should consult a Lansing traffic attorney for help disputing the charges. While a violation for a traffic-related offense may not seem like a big deal, the reality is that it can have a lasting impact on your driving record, insurance premiums, and many other unexpected aspects of your life. If you have been ticketed in Lansing, call traffic attorney Tiffany DeBruin at DeBruin Law today at (517) 324-4303 for a free consultation on your case. We can help protect your rights and do everything possible to keep your record clean.